LOCAL ECONOMIC SNAPSHOT | WAGES
Personal income growth
By BILL BOWEN
Staff Writer [email protected]
Personal income grew in 2010, after a general contraction in 2009. Personal income is a measure of all income, including net earnings (wages), earnings from property (rent, dividends and interest income) and transfer payments (unemployment insurance payments, Medicaid and Social Security payments) minus social insurance payments.
Local per capita income
Per capita personal income is derived from taking all net earnings and dividing that number by all residents of a county. So these are the average personal incomes for every man, woman and retiree in a county. Percent Area Per capita income growth United States Southwest U.S. Texas Collin County Dallas County Denton County Tarrant County Harris County Travis County Bexar County $39,937 $36,719 $37,747 $48,229 $43,178 $40,474 $38,581 $44,757 $41,462 $34,946 2.81% 4.90% 3.42% 1.09% 2.59% 2.69% 3.06% 3.05% 2.42% 3.07%
The nation’s wealth
Of the country’s 3,113 counties, residents in the 281 largest, or only 9 percent of the total number, account for 68 percent of the nation’s personal income. Smaller counties by population and rural characterisics get less income from net earnings and more from Social Security, Medicare and unemployment insurance. LARGE COUNTIES
Transfer payments: 17%
Transfer payments: 21%
Transfer payments: 26%
Net earnings: 66%
Net earnings: 63%
Net earnings: 58%
Net earnings: Mostly wages and salaries minus payments to government social insurance. Holdings: Income from property, including stock dividends, personal interest and rent. Transfer payments: Government social program income, including Social Security, Medicare, unemployment insurance.
The richest counties tend to be resort communities or centers of finance and industry, including government.
Of the country's 10 poorest counties, eight are in the South and two are in Texas. Georgia has three and Florida has two. Fairfield $71,768 Westchester $73,159 Nantucket $73,654
Teton $94,672 Madison $18,651 IDAHO WYO.
N.Y. MASS. S.D. Arlington $79,967 Elliott $18,753 COLO. Crowley $16,299 Telfair $16,614 TEXAS VA. KY. GA. CONN.
CALIF. Pitkin $76,318
New York $111,386 Alexandria $76,362 Wheeler $17,253 Charlton $18,392 Union $18,421
SOURCE: U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis
The bottom line
“Personal income includes not only wages, but it includes property income, interest and dividend income and government payments, such as Social Security retirement income. It’s really an accounting method. You can’t consider it as what people are really getting as income. These figures reflect economic activity, so the energy wealth may distort them a bit here.” “It’s going to show a lot more income than earnings. It’s not a true picture of what’s going on with most people. Most people don’t have property and interest income. It gets skewed toward property. That said, it does have some value: When you look at it, you can certainly see which is the poor region vs. which is a rich region.” “Personal income is growing, but it is more a reflection of the economy than of our individual earnings because it includes many kinds of income and is then divided among the entire population. That personal income is growing is good news, though, during bad economic times. It shows that economic activity — and government payments — are helping the economy hum along.” Bill Bowen, staff writer, The Dallas Morning News
Bernard Weinstein, economist at Southern Methodist University's Cox School of Business
Pia Orrenius, senior economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas