Louisiana’s total personal income continues to climb as the state adds jobs, and key industry sectors like oil and gas chug along at a healthy pace.
Total personal income in the state was $176.5 billion, an increase of 4.8 percent in 2011 compared with 2010, the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis reported Wednesday. This is less than the nationwide average of 5.1 percent growth in total personal income, which is the total income earned by the total population from all sources.
The state’s per capita personal income — which is income divided by the population and a measure of their prosperity — was $38,578, a 4.2 percent increase. Job growth in the state was up 1.3 percent from 2010 to 2011.
“Part of the growth in personal income is a growth in the number of workers,” Louisiana economist Loren Scott said. “And part of it is due to an increase in productivity. That’s a pretty significant difference there. A 3 percentage point increase in productivity is pretty strong.”
The national average for per capita personal income was $41,663 in 2011, the BEA reported, which was a 4.3 percent increase from the year before.
Looking at a 14-state southern region that includes Oklahoma and Texas, Louisiana’s per capita income is reasonably strong, coming in fourth behind Virginia’s $45,920; Texas, at $39,593; and Florida, at $39,563. Louisiana’s growth rate in per capita income from 2010 to 2011 came in fifth after Oklahoma, Texas, Tennessee and West Virginia.
Louisiana’s per-capita income is roughly 93 percent of the national average. This is much higher than historical trends, largely because of the effects of Hurricane Katrina, Scott said.
Before 2005 Louisiana’s per capita income lingered around 82 percent of the national average. After 2005, per capita income took a strong nose-up, according to the BEA data.
Scott’s data analysis shows statewide per capita income increasing 33.9 percent between 2004 and 2010 as the state’s population fell 0.1 percent, an indication of the large numbers of some of the state’s poorest residents getting dispersed to other parts of the country.
“It’s a step increase as a result of us losing a lot of lower-income people due to the hurricane,” Scott said.
Parishes like St. Bernard, Orleans, Plaquemine and Jefferson saw population numbers plummet from 2004 to 2010 while personal income moved in the other direction. Orleans showed a 43.5 percent growth in per capita personal income during this period, while Plaquemine’s personal income grew 53.8 percent, according to Scott’s data.
Before the hurricane, Louisiana ranked 44th in the nation when measuring per capita income. The state now hovers around 28th.