Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Why Oregon Trails the Nation: An analysis of per capita personal income

Yesterday, the Oregon Employment Department released an in-depth report on per capita personal income (PCPI). The Bureau of Economic Analysis calculates PCPI by taking the annual sum of all resident income in a geographic area, and dividing it by the number of residents in that area.

Oregon's PCPI has grown in recent years, increasing by 7 percent over the last decade. Nationally though, PCPI grew by 12 percent over that period. In 2009, Oregon's PCPI was $36,125, or 91.2 percent of the national level. The state ranked 32nd nationwide -- our lowest ranking since at least 1929.

Per capita personal income is lower in Oregon's non-metro areas than in the state's metro areas. However, the PCPI of Oregon's non-metro areas is similar to non-metro areas across the U.S. In contrast, the PCPI of Oregon's metro areas is far below the average for all metro areas in the nation. Metro areas drive the statewide PCPI in Oregon, accounting for more than 80 percent of the state's total income.

Significant causes cited in the report for low PCPI in Oregon relative to the nation include:
  • Lower industry wages
  • Lower earnings by proprietors
  • A fast-growing population
  • Lower wages in high-paying occupational groups
  • A net outflow of commuter wages
  • Higher unemployment rate and lower employment-to-population ratio
  • Shorter average workweek and more part-time work
Some of these factors are beyond anyone's control, and others are the result of Oregonians' individual choices.

Here is a map that shows 2009 per capita personal income for each of the states (click on it to make it larger):

For more information about Oregon's PCPI, check out the
full report!

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