Sunday, May 06, 2007

Per Capita Income Jumps in 2006 ...

From AP via China Post:

Louisiana recorded the largest growth in per capita income (PCI) in the U.S. in 2006, a gain coming from wage increases following hurricanes Katrina and Rita and the loss of 200,000 residents, many from lower-income ranges, the U.S. Commerce Department reported Tuesday.

The 25.5 percent increase last year follows a 9 percent drop in 2005, a year in which there was massive unemployment following the two storms, according to preliminary figures.

Louisiana State University economist Loren Scott said the figures provide evidence that the displaced population was predominantly low-income. The report did not quantify how much of the gain could be attributed to poor residents leaving the state.

"The wide swing in its growth rate reflects the consequences of the property lost in the hurricanes and the state's subsequent recovery," the report said.

Factors that could keep wages up, Scott said, include the Army Corps of Engineers' plans to spend US$1 billion (euro750 million) dollars a year in Louisiana over the next four years as levee improvements are made. He also noted that repair and replacement of homes continues in south Louisiana and that there are plans for high-rise condominium developments in New Orleans

Scott said post-hurricane construction, infrastructure repair and other projected construction projects in the state should sustain the higher wages for anywhere from three to five years.

After that, sustaining the higher income provided by one-time construction projects will depend largely on the state's success in attracting new industry. "The state's recruiting efforts remain vital," Scott said.

In the meantime, even with the post-Katrina boost, the 2006 per capita income figure in Louisiana --US$30,952 (euro23,190)-- only pushed the state from the bottom to 41st in the United States.

Connecticut had the highest per capita income in 2006 with US$49,852 (euro37,350)-- 37 percent above the national average of US$36,276 (euro27,179). Mississippi had the lowest per capita income of all U.S. states: US$26,535 (euro19,880), or 27 percent below the national average.

Michigan's per-capita income grew the slowest of all U.S. states last year, at 3.1 percent, primarily because of employment cutbacks in the automobile industry that created waves in construction and real estate, the Commerce Department said.

National per capita income grew 5.2 percent in 2006, up from 4.2 percent in 2005.


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