Region beats US for growth in personal income in ’12

November 22nd, 2013

News Coverage:

Published: November 22, 2013 3:00 a.m.

Region beats US for growth in personal income in ’12

Paul Wyche | The Journal Gazette

On average, personal income rose 4.2 percent nationally in 2012, after growing 6 percent in 2011, according to estimates released Thursday by the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis.

Metro Fort Wayne topped that.

Personal income in the Fort Wayne region rose about 5.1 percent last year, compared to a 6.3 percent increase in 2011. The Fort Wayne metropolitan statistical area consists of Allen, Wells and Whitley counties. The average annual income was $37,226 last year. Besides wages, personal income includes dividends, rent, unemployment benefits, interest and other sources.

Industries making some of the biggest jumps in Fort Wayne in earnings were health care and social assistance and transportation and warehousing. Last year, health care and social assistance recorded $1.9 billion, against $1.8 billion in 2011. Transportation and warehousing rose to $801 million in 2012, against $696 million the previous year.

“Farm earnings did well too, growing about 25 percent to $97 million in 2012,” said Thomas Dail, a spokesman for the Bureau of Economic Analysis. “Personal income grew faster in Fort Wayne than the rest of the nation.”

While the city had a larger percentage gain, Fort Wayne continues to lag significantly behind the national average annual income, which is more than $45,000.

There’s still reason to stand up and cheer, said Michael Hicks, a professor of economics at Ball State University and director of the school’s Center for Business and Economic Research.

He attributes the higher income percentage to companies paying employees more and an influx of workers into the job market.

“If the nation had the kind of growth Fort Wayne is having there’d be church bells ringing,” he said. “What this says is that Fort Wayne came out of the recession in better shape than the rest of the country and is growing more quickly.”

Based on the initial numbers, Hicks said it appears the Summit City’s economy is on the right trajectory.

“Even if you take into account inflation, personal income still grew about 3 percent,” he said. “This suggests that it is growing at a pretty good clip, which is a good sign for Fort Wayne.”

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