Special Report

16 States Where Incomes Are Booming

Michael B. Sauter, Grant Suneson

Source: miroslav_1 / iStock

6. Arizona
> Personal income growth (2012-2017): +18.1%
> Per-capita personal income: $38,658 (5th lowest)
> Employment growth (2012-2017): +12.5% (10th largest increase)
> GDP growth (2012-2017): +10.0% (18th largest increase)

Arizona representatives have convinced several companies to relocate from California, bolstering the state’s tech and financial sectors. Over the last 10 years, the number of workers in Arizona’s information industry grew 8.7% and its financial industry spiked 14.6% during the same time — both among the highest growth rates of any state. These high income jobs likely helped spur personal income growth in the state.

Source: Thinkstock

5. Washington
> Personal income growth (2012-2017): +18.2%
> Per-capita personal income: $47,505 (12th highest)
> Employment growth (2012-2017): +13.9% (7th largest increase)
> GDP growth (2012-2017): +19.3% (the largest increase)

Major tech companies like Amazon are likely the key catalysts behind Washington’s high personal income growth. Some 3.8% of workers in Washington are employed in the information industry, a higher share than in any other state. The state’s tech industry has undergone massive growth over the last decade, with the number of jobs ballooning 23.5% over the last 10 years.

Source: Thinkstock

4. Nevada
> Personal income growth (2012-2017): +18.5%
> Per-capita personal income: $40,799 (11th lowest)
> Employment growth (2012-2017): +17.1% (2nd largest increase)
> GDP growth (2012-2017): +12.5% (10th largest increase)

Though Nevada is famous for Las Vegas, the state’s leisure and hospitality industry grew less than that of every other state since 2007. Nevada’s personal income growth was likely helped most by the education and health services sector, which grew its workforce 43.6% since 2007 and now employs 9.9% the state’s labor force.

Source: Thinkstock

3. Colorado
> Personal income growth (2012-2017): +18.7%
> Per-capita personal income: $46,256 (18th highest)
> Employment growth (2012-2017): +15.0% (5th largest increase)
> GDP growth (2012-2017): +17.6% (4th largest increase)

Colorado’s unemployment rate dropped by more than 5 percentage points since 2012 through 2017, one of the largest drops in the country. The leisure and hospitality sector added 63,000 jobs in the past decade, which likely contributed to the state’s rise in personal income. It also helped offset the employment decline in Colorado’s information industry, which shrank by 4,700 jobs, or 6.2%, over the same time.

Source: Thinkstock

2. Idaho
> Personal income growth (2012-2017): +19.0%
> Per-capita personal income: $38,785 (6th lowest)
> Employment growth (2012-2017): +15.4% (4th largest increase)
> GDP growth (2012-2017): +15.0% (6th largest increase)

Over the past five years, Idaho’s employment increased 15.4%, likely contributing to the Gem State’s 19.0% personal income growth. The number of manufacturing jobs nationwide declined by more than 10% over the past 10 years. In Idaho, however, the manufacturing industry increased slightly, and it currently makes up 9.3% of the state’s workforce. Since 2011, Idaho’s labor force has grown 8.9%, roughly double the U.S. labor force growth rate of 4.4%.

Source: Thinkstock

1. Utah
> Personal income growth (2012-2017): +20.9%
> Per-capita personal income: $38,477 (3rd lowest)
> Employment growth (2012-2017): +17.4% (the largest increase)
> GDP growth (2012-2017): +17.8% (3rd largest increase)

Utah’s personal income has grown by 20.9% since 2012, the highest rate of growth of all 50 states. This boost has come as the state workforce has also grown faster than any other state. Between 2012 and 2017, state employment grew from or seeking work grew from 1.25 million to 1.47 million. That 17.4% increase was the largest of any state. Utah’s growing tech industry, which tends to have growing and high wages, likely helped contribute to the state’s nation-leading income growth.