Local income growth tops state
Personal income in Tulare County grew on average 5.93 percent in 2011, the second highest growth rate in the region.
The average income in Tulare County was put at $29,640 in 2011, according to estimates released last week by the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis. Income rose by $1,658 in the county.
While growth was good, the county still trails the statewide average for income and most other counties in the region.
Average income in California was $43,647 last year, while it was $41,560 nationwide.
Tulare County’s growth rate of 5.93 percent compares favorably to Fresno County (3.14 percent), Bakersfield (5.47 percent) and the state (4.19 percent), but is far behind the income growth seen in Kings County. That neighboring county saw incomes rise 9.30 percent, the third highest gain in the nation, in 2011.
The income growth was good news to Donnette Carter, CEO of the Porterville Chamber of Commerce.
“Our store owners are feeling more positive these days,” she said. “We have felt that things are turning around from the recession.”
Personal income growth in the county has been good for a few years. In 2000, personal income was just $20,070, reported the bureau, and was $27,982 in 2010. When statistics began being kept in 1969, personal income in Tulare County was just $3,380 a year. It grew to $9,324 by 1980 and $14,618 by 1990.
According to the bureau, personal income rose in 2011 in all of the nation’s 366 metropolitan statistical areas for the first time since 2007. Personal income growth ranged from 14.8 percent in Odessa, Texas to 1 percent in Rochester, Minn. Personal income in the United States rose 5.2 percent in 2011, up from 3.8 percent in 2010. Inflation, as measured by the national price index for personal consumption expenditures, accelerated to 2.4 percent in 2011 from 1.9 percent in 2010.
Carter said organizations like the chamber and the Economic Development Corporation of Tulare County are working to not only bring more jobs to the area, but to improve incomes as well.
“We’re always looking to help grow people’s personal income ... to improve their quality of life,” noted Carter.
While income improved, the employment picture did not. The bureau reported that employment grew by just 0.49 percent during 2011 and the average wage only improved by 1.78 percent.
Of the Central Valley, residents of Tulare County had personal income better than Kings, Madera and Merced counties.
Personal income rose in 3,062 of the nation’s 3,113 counties in 2011, with growth ranging from 62.2 percent in King County, Texas to -28.8 percent in Lynn County, Texas. Of the 50 counties with the fastest personal income growth in 2011, 45 were located in the Plains Region — with 41 of the 45 counties located in Nebraska, North Dakota, and South Dakota.
Increases in farm income were a major factor in the growth rates for most of these counties.
Personal income is the income received by all persons from all sources. Personal income is the sum of net earnings by place of residence, rental income of persons, personal dividend income, personal interest income, and personal current transfer receipts.