U.S. Outlook: Western states charge ahead; many others lag

Scott Anderson
Posted by Scott Anderson
Chief Economist

While broad-based personal income growth was seen across the nation in 2015, the middle of the country lagged significantly, and California surged ahead 6.3%. Average personal income growth nationally was up 4.4% in 2015, the same pace as 2014, with the Western and Southeastern states showing the strongest percentage gains in personal income.

Graphic showing increase in personal incomes in western United States

For more details, see highlights of my report below, followed by a link to the full U.S. Outlook, delivered on April 1.

Key observations:
  • Earnings in the professional and business services sector rose 6.6% nationally, with even stronger gains in California and Colorado.
  • Earnings in the construction sector rose at a healthy 8.5% and were the main contributors to personal income growth in fast-growing Utah and Nevada.
  • In the agricultural-heavy and oil production-dependent middle of the country, the personal income picture is weak.
  • Personal income in California topped $2 trillion and contributed a whopping 19% to national personal income growth.
  • Stronger wage growth led personal income gains in the state as many California metros are adopting higher minimum wages and labor markets are tight.
  • The dissonance in personal income performance is clearly contributing to the chaotic rhetoric we are hearing on the Presidential campaign trail.

Click here to read my full report.

Reminder: All comments are moderated prior to publication and must follow our Community Guidelines.

Submit an Idea

[contact-form-7 id="32" title="Share An Idea"]

You are leaving the Bank of the West Change Matters site. Please be aware: The website you are about to enter is not operated by Bank of the West. Bank of the West does not endorse the content of this website and makes no warranty as to the accuracy of content or functionality of this website. The privacy and security policies of the site may differ from those practiced by Bank of the West. To proceed to this website, click OK, or hit Cancel to remain on the Bank of the West Change Matters site.