Minnesota incomes rose in third quarter

  • Article by: ADAM BELZ , Star Tribune
  • Updated: December 19, 2012 - 9:24 PM

The increase ranked Minnesota income growth rate as 8th-fastest in U.S.

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State economist Tom Stinson

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Minnesota personal income grew in the third quarter at the eighth-fastest rate in the nation, according to estimates released Wednesday by the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis.

Total income, on pace to be $248 billion for the year in Minnesota, grew 0.8 percent in the quarter, compared with a national average of 0.5 percent.

"I thought it was good news," said Tom Stinson, the state economist. "If you look at it on a year-over-year basis, we're growing noticeably faster than the U.S., so this isn't likely to be just a one-quarter anomaly."

Personal income is all income received by all people from all sources, including money made from property, Social Security payments, food stamps and unemployment benefits.

The positive news on income comes a day before Minnesota releases its monthly jobs report for November. The October report was weak after brighter news in August and September.

Headcounts fell across the state in October as the state shed an estimated 8,100 jobs. Average hours worked per week, which had risen encouragingly in September, fell back to their August level.

Earnings in Minnesota for the quarter that ended Sept. 30 were strongest in farming, durable-goods manufacturing, construction, management, health care and state and local government, the Bureau of Economic Analysis reported Wednesday.

Farm earnings rose by $367 million from the second quarter to the third, health care rose $222 million, construction rose $114 million and state and local government rose $224 million.

Earnings rose in 17 of 24 industries the bureau analyzes. A notable loser in Minnesota and across the nation was the finance and insurance industry, where earnings in the state fell $217 million from the second quarter to the third.

Overall, income growth in the state has slowed each of the past two quarters, after growing 2 percent in the first quarter of the year. The national trend is similar, with 1.6 percent growth in the first quarter slowing as the year has progressed.

Minnesota is doing better than most other states, in part, because of farming, and likely because the coming winter forced construction companies to choose in the third quarter whether to start projects, adding to personal income totals for the state over the period, Stinson said. Southern states, where homebuilders can pour a basement in January, wouldn't get the same third-quarter bounce.

"We may have gone into the recession a little sooner, and I think that we may be just a little further out," Stinson said.

The Upper Midwest did well in the rankings. North Dakota led all states, with the oil and gas boom driving personal income growth of 1.4 percent. Also in the top 10 were Arkansas, Montana, Indiana, Idaho, Oregon, Texas, Ohio and Mississippi.

Adam Belz • 612-673-4405 Twitter: @adambelz

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