La. real personal income growth lags

Real personal income grew 2.1 percent in Louisiana in 2011, slightly behind the national average of 2.7 percent. Lake Charles and Shreveport were the only metro areas in the state to grow ahead of or at the national average.

According to figures released Wednesday by the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Economic Analysis, real personal income in Louisiana was $167.2 billion in 2011, compared with $163.7 billion in 2010. The U.S. total rose from almost $11.1 trillion to nearly $11.4 trillion.

Real personal income is defined as personal income per capita, adjusted for inflation. For the purpose of the BEA report, 2005 dollars are used.

Personal income per capita in Louisiana was $36,500 in 2011, up 1.5 percent from 2010 when the figure was $36,000. That also lagged the national growth, which went up 2 percent from $35,800 to $36,500.

Stephen Moret, Louisiana economic development department secretary, said in an email that Louisiana’s relative performance has “been quite good” despite a dramatic slowdown on recovery spending for hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

South Dakota saw the biggest gain in real personal income, going up 10.4 percent to $36.8 billion. Mississippi had the smallest increase, going up 1.3 percent to $94.5 billion.

Lake Charles saw real personal income grow by 3.2 percent during 2011, from $6.9 billion to $7.1 billion. Shreveport was up 2.7 percent, from $14.1 billion to $14.5 billion.

Lafayette was slightly below the national average, up 2.6 percent from $11.4 billion to $11.7 billion.

New Orleans had a 2.1 percent increase, right at the Louisiana average. Real personal income in the Crescent City was $46.6 billion in 2011, compared with $45.7 billion the year before.

Baton Rouge had a 2 percent increase in real personal income, going from $29.0 billion in 2010 to $29.5 billion in 2011.

Alexandria had a 1.7 percent increase, to hit $5.6 billion, while Monroe was up 1.2 percent to $5.9 billion.

Houma-Thibodaux had the smallest amount of growth of any metro area in the state, going up 0.8 percent to reach $8.4 billion.