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Economy in Brief

State Personal Income in Q4 2021
by Charles Steindel  March 23, 2022

Personal incomes growth varied widely across the states in 2021:Q4, in large part reflecting great differences in the growth of transfer payments, in turn owing to varying effects of the wind-down of pandemic-related federal unemployment insurance benefits. In addition, the growth of net earnings (employee wages and benefits plus proprietors' income) also differed quite substantially. Texas reported the fastest income growth rate: 9.2 percent, compared to the national figure of 2.4 percent. Texas benefited from rapid growth of net earnings (13.4 percent, at an annual rate, which was tops in the nation) and relatively little deterioration of transfers (-3.6 percent, compared to the national -17.5 percent rate of decline). In very sharp contrast, personal income fell as an 8.7 percent rate in North Dakota, as net earnings plunged at a 15.2 percent rate (transfers rose at a 4.6 percent rate in North Dakota). Developments were similar in other Plains States—declines or weak growth in earnings, with farm incomes down substantially, held down overall personal income, while the rate of decline for transfers was less that elsewhere (in some states other than North Dakota, transfers rose). In Texas's Southwest region transfers were relatively strong (or relatively less weak) and net earnings were strong. In the Far West and New England earnings were strong and transfers were weak. Looking more granularly at income generation, once again the recovery in travel led to enormous increases in income generated in leisure and hospitality in Nevada and Hawaii, but in both states large drops in transfer payments meant that overall personal income growth was relatively unimpressive.

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