Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

State per Capita Income below U.S. Average

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

State per Capita Income below U.S. Average

Article excerpt

WASHINGTON (AP) _ Per capita income for Oklahoma in 1991 was 18.6 percent below the national average, the U.S. Commerce Department said Wednesday.

Oklahoma ranked 41st among the other 49 states and Washington, D.C., for the year with per capita income of $15,541, up 2.7 percent from 1990.

The Commerce Department said per capita income nationwide grew just 2.4 percent to $19,092 last year, only slightly more than half the 4.4 percent inflation rate registered by the department's index for personal spending.

It was the smallest increase since 1961, during the Kennedy administration, and the first time since 1982, during the last recession, that income growth fell behind inflation.

"I think this very nicely reflects the mood of the electorate," said economist Paul Getman of Regional Financial Associates in West Chester, Pa. "They're being squeezed very hard by rising taxes and rising health costs on the one hand and by negligible increases in wages and salaries on the other."

Adjusted for inflation, incomes declined 1.9 percent last year, the worst on record going back through 1970, the latest year for which comparable inflationjusted numbers are available.

And it was the third year in a row that the figure was worse than the year before. Inflationjusted per capita incomes were unchanged in 1990, rose 1.4 percent in 1989 and 1.9 percent in 1988.

"One reason why the public is in such an ornery mood is that the pain has been building for several years," Getman said. "Income growth has been sliding for a while and it's not going to turn around very soon."

Wednesday's figures represent a revision of an earlier report released in April.

Differences among rich and poor states narrowed last year, although Connecticut retained its 1990 ranking as the richest state, with per person average income of $26,022. Mississippi remained the poorest, with average income of $13,328. …

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