Dec 27, 2012 20:28 La. personal income growth matches U.S. average La. personal income growth matches U.S. average U.S., state residents’ income average 0.5% increase during 3rd quarter Timothy Boone| Advocate business writer Dec. 27, 2012 Comments Total personal income in Louisiana grew at the same rate as the United States average during the third quarter, according to a report released Wednesday. Total personal income in the state was $182.4 billion during the third quarter, an increase of 0.5 percent from the second quarter, according to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis. That matches the 0.5 percent growth nationwide in total personal income, which is the income earned by individuals from all sources. The BEA reported that national inflation, as measured by the national price index for personal consumption expenditures, rose to 0.4 percent in the third quarter, up from 0.2 percent in the second quarter. Louisiana also grew at the same rate as the average of the other Southeastern states in the BEA report: Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia. Louisiana had the 26th-highest rate of personal income growth out of the 50 states. Louisiana’s personal income rose by $989 million during the quarter. Of that total, more than half, or $498 million, came from net earnings, which the BEA defines as earnings by place of work — which covers hourly wages, salary, supplemental pay and proprietors’ income. Broken down by industry sector, the report shows that earnings from farming increased by nearly 13 percent or $159 million during the third quarter. Kurt Guidry, an extension economist at the LSU AgCenter, said a combination of record yields and historically high prices for row crops, such as corn, soybeans and wheat, has helped boost the bottom line for Louisiana farmers. The severe drought in the Midwest over the past couple of years has driven up prices for crops and livestock. “If you have record production and very high prices, you’ll have high gross revenues,” Guidry said. North Dakota grew the fastest, with a 1.4 percent increase in total personal income, while South Dakota was at the bottom of the national rankings, with personal income falling by 1.6 percent. South Dakota was the only state to see personal income drop during the third quarter. Louisiana had 1.3 percent income growth in the second quarter, so the third-quarter numbers represent slower growth. During the second quarter, the U.S. personal income growth rate rose by 0.7 percent.