During the Great Recession, U.S. gross domestic product declined 4.3%. Since then, the economy has rebounded and is now in one of the longest periods of expansion on record.
As the economy recovered, the U.S. labor market also began to improve. The unemployment rate dropped from 8.1% in 2012 to 4.4% in 2017, and total employment increased by over five million people. Personal income also grew by 11.2% across the nation in that time frame, while per capita personal income increased by 7.2%.
The economic expansion has not benefited all states equally. In some states, personal incomes grew by less than 5%, and one, North Dakota, actually reported an income decline of 1.8% between 2012 and 2017. On the other hand, total personal income in some states has grown by more than 15% and even over 20% in one over the last five years
Compared to five years ago, there are fewer Americans working in manufacturing and construction, which each tend to be low-paying industries. More Americans took jobs in the financial sector and the professional and business services industry, which tend to pay higher salaries. In an interview with 24/7 Wall St., Martin Kohli, chief regional economist with the Bureau of Labor Statistics, said the generally high-paying information sector — which includes software development and data processing — has also led income growth nationwide in recent years, despite an overall decline in employment in the industry.
“… some of the big internet technology companies that have large concentrations in California and some of the western states — they’re not necessarily adding lots and lots of people, but they are seeing big increases in income,” Kohli said.
To determine the states where personal incomes are booming, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed total personal income change from the the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis. Personal incomes in the 16 states listed here grew by more than the nation’s 11.2% growth rate from 2012 to 2017.