Friday, August 12th, 2011
This week the BEA issued advance 2010 numbers for metro area personal income. This enables us to take a look back at personal income growth over the last decade, so let’s do so quickly.
Here’s a map of the percentage increase in total personal income over the 2000′s:
Much as with GDP, growth in total personal income is unsurprisingly correlated with population growth. The per capita numbers should show a different side to the story. Unfortunately, the BEA did not release official per capita income figures do to the process of rebaselining population estimates to the latest Census. However, I did a quick unofficial analysis using population figures from the decennial Census and here’s the result:
I had expected increasing PCPI to be associated with economic health, but that doesn’t seem to be the case. Number one among large metros was New Orleans, which seems to be driven more by a decline in population than anything else. Perhaps dittos for the other Gulf Coast metros. Others in the top ten includes places like Providence and Buffalo that don’t intuitively seem like juggernauts. But oil rich Oklahoma City and recession-proof Washington, DC are also doing well. This would be something to look into further before reading too much into this I think.
Looking at some comparison peer groups, here’s an index view of the decade’s performance for various tier one metros.
You can see the clear affect of the dot come crash on San Jose and San Francisco. And also the remorseless rise of a Washington, DC that seemingly shows no relation to anything going on in the rest of the country.
Here’s a similar chart for Midwest metros.
This clearly shows the uniquely struggling positions of Detroit and Cleveland. Everyone else was in a pretty narrow band, with Kansas City taking the crown. Another thing this chart tells me is that the Midwest metro economies are tightly linked in performance. Perhaps this suggests a common linkage to each other and/or the general macro economy that should be a message to them to find common cause? I find it interesting that it isn’t Chicago or Minneapolis who stand apart from the group, but the stragglers. Perhaps the idea that these global type cities can simply declare independence from their region in favor of membership in some Hanseatic League of Global Cities is more ambition than reality.