This morning, the Bureau of Economic analysis released their report on State Personal Income for the fourth quarter of 2009. Because the fourth quarter figures complete the data for 2009, the BEA press release focused on annual income in 2009 compared to 2008. For the year, 44 states experienced declines in personal income, with an average of -1.7%. In Arkansas, personal income was down by only 0.2%, placing our state in the top ten in terms of income growth for the year.
Per capita income averaged $31,946 for Arkansas in 2009, down by 1.0% (compared to a 2.6% decline for the U.S. average). In terms of per capita income growth for the year, Arkansas ranked 12th in the nation.
The quarterly pattern of income growth over the year is also of interest. Following two quarters of modest declines, Arkansas personal income was up by 1.1% in the fourth quarter. This was the 9th largest increase in the country.
The chart below shows the pattern of personal income for Arkansas compared to the U.S. Both series peaked in the second quarter of 2008, so the data are normalized to equal 1.0 in that quarter.
For the U.S., personal income fell by to 2.7 percent of its 2008Q2 value by the first quarter of 2009. By the end of the year, U.S. income was down 1.4% from its peak. The decline in Arkansas was more protracted and gradual. Arkansas personal income hit a low point in the third quarter of 2009 (1.7% below peak), but the strong performance in the fourth quarter raised incme to a level only 0.6% below the 2008Q2 peak.