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Economy in Brief

State Personal Income in Q1 2021
by Charles Steindel  June 22, 2021

State personal incomes grew at spectacular rates in 2021:Q1, reflecting the disbursement of Federal transfers. Unsurprisingly, aggregate growth rates were strongest in poor states, where flat dollar transfers made a larger different: Mississippi had the highest growth rate (89.3 percent at an annual rate), and West Virginia was number 2. Wealthier states were at the bottom: Connecticut was 50th (DC was even lower), California 49th, Massachusetts 48th, etc.

The growth of net earnings (employee compensation plus proprietors’ income) provides a better snapshot of how the recovery was proceeding. Three states (Texas, Michigan, and Tennessee) saw double-digit growth rates; six saw declines, with South Dakota’s falling at an 11.1 percent annual rate. In general, the Northeast (New England and the Mideast), Great Lakes, Rocky Mountain, and Southwest tended to be strong, with the Plains and Far West softer. The upshot is that more industrial states were typically stronger, and more agricultural and energy production-centered states were typically softer. Recoveries in leisure and hospitality started too late in the quarter to exert much leverage on state growth (both Hawaii and Nevada reported below-average growth in net earnings).

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