Wyoming’s personal income continues to grow

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According to a media report published by the State of Wyoming’s Department of Administration and Information, Wyoming’s personal income has continued to grow in the second quarter of 2017, at a rate of 0.6 percent compared to the first quarter of 2017.

Based on the estimates released by the United States Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) on Sept. 26, 2017, personal income of the Rocky Mountain region, which includes Wyoming, Colorado, Idaho, Montana and Utah, grew at a faster pace of 0.8 percent exceeding the U.S. growth rate of 0.7 percent.

Utah’s second quarter growth of 1.1 percent led the region followed by Colorado, Wyoming, Idaho and Montana. According to the report, the personal income is defined as income received by all persons from all sources consisting of, net earnings (wages and salaries), property income (including dividends, interest and rental income) and government transfer payments (including Social Security benefits, Medicare and Medicaid benefits and unemployment insurance compensations).

According to BEA, personal income grew in all 50 states with Nevada leading the way with an increase of 1.3 percent while Iowa and Neb. each recorded a growth of 0.1 percent, lowest in the nation, compared to the previous quarter.  Wyoming’s total personal income increased by $192 million in the second quarter of 2017, which is a 0.6 percent increment, compared to the first quarter of 2017 with net earnings accounting for most of the gain with an increase of $119 million, while property income added $73 million.  The third component, government transfer payments, remained unchanged when compared to the first quarter.

According to Jim Robinson, the principal economist for the state’s Economic Analysis Division, the personal income growth in the first and the second quarter of 2017 is mainly due to the recovery of the mining sector, which includes oil & gas industries, and the transportation sector. The recovery of mining sector made the largest contribution to the private earnings growth, which was a 3.7 percent increment ($88 million increase), followed by transportation, which was a 1.4 percent increment ($27 million increase), compared to the first quarter of 2017.

Wyoming’s personal income grew for the first time in the first quarter of 2017, which was a 1.8 percent increase compared to the previous quarter, after a year of continuous decline.

“First quarter had captured most of the income growth through the recovery of the mining sector,” said Robinson.

“Wyoming’s personal income suffered a major decline during the year of 2016, due to the decline of oil & gas prices” said Robinson.

During the second, third and fourth quarters of 2016, Wyoming’s personal income had a negative growth of -0.6, -0.8 and -0.4.

With the stabilization of oil and gas prices, the mining industry has begun to gain momentum. Even though the oil price is still relatively law, it has stabilized around $45 to $55 dollars per barrel.

“With the stabilization of oil and gas prices, the mining industry has started to regain the momentum, and in return has created more jobs,” said Robinson.

According to Robinson, of the eight industries that declined, the farming sector incurred the largest decrease. Farm earnings fell by 55.9 percent ($30 million decrease) compared to the first quarter of 2017.  Administrative & waste management services recorded the second largest decline where earnings fell by 1.8 percent ($8 million decrease).

This decline in the farming sector is not unique to Wyoming.

“It’s been seen in most states where farming is prominent. This is largely due to decline in corn and livestock prices,” Robinson said.

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