March 31, 2012

Maine ranks last in personal-income growth

The Associated Press

BANGOR — Maine is lagging the rest of the country in terms of personal-income growth.

The U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis released statistics this week showing the Maine's income growth last year was 3.4 percent, making it the slowest rate of any state and far below the national average of 5.1 percent.

North Dakota led the country with 8.1 percent personal-income growth.

After Maine, the worst states in the country were Alabama, Mississippi, Nevada and Alaska.

Personal income is the total income received by all residents from all sources. For 2011, personal income in Maine totaled $50.4 billion, according to the BEA.

University of Maine economist Todd Gabe tells the Bangor Daily News that the long economic downturn has hurt sectors such as agriculture, construction, low-end manufacturing, fisheries and forestry, which are some of Maine's strengths.

He said states that are strong in computer and mathematical occupations, business, financial and professional services careers, and other high-tech jobs are seeing their incomes rise at a faster clip.

The rest of New England showed much stronger growth than Maine, with an average increase of 4.9 percent for the region, even with Maine dragging it down.

Maine’s last-place finish in terms of income growth is a significant drop from the previous year. From 2009 to 2010, Mainers saw a 2.8 percent increase in personal income, putting the state at 28th in the nation. The national average in 2010 was 3 percent, according to the Daily News.

On a per capita basis, Maine's personal income growth of 3.3 percent was 49th in the country last year, ahead of only Alaska. Maine's per capita income was $37,973 for the year, up from $36,763.


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