Laboring for Less: As Texans Celebrate Labor Day, New Numbers Show Their Personal Income Loses Ground to Other States

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Don Baylor /(512) 320-0222 x 108

September 2, 2010

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Recent data on personal income and per capita personal income released by the Bureau of Economic Statistics (BEA) demonstrates the devastating effects of the recession on Americans across the country, especially in Texas where per capita personal income fell from a rank of 26 to 29 in the United States. Despite a 2 percent population increase in Texas between 2008 and 2009, total personal income declined by 1.6 percent to $904.2 billion. Although Texas had a lower unemployment rate (8.2 percent) compared to the national average (9.5 percent), per capita personal income in the state declined faster than the national rate. Twenty-one out of the 25 Texas metro areas (MSA) experienced declines in per capita personal income. Statewide, the decline in per capita personal income has been most pronounced in the larger MSAs during the recession. The data also indicate the role of unemployment insurance (UI) as an income stabilizer. Without the state UI program and federal UI extensions, per capita income would have fallen as much as 4 percent in 2009.