A booming energy sector and low unemployment helped drive personal income growth last year in the Oklahoma City and Tulsa metropolitan areas, according to federal estimates released Monday.
The U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis put the Oklahoma City and Tulsa metro areas in its highest category of income growth for 2011. Both areas posted income growth of 7.6 percent from 2010 to 2011, the bureau said. Lawton's metro area personal income grew 4.6 percent during the same period.
“That coincided with a period of employment growth and low unemployment,” said Jon Chiappe, deputy division director of research and economic analysis at the Oklahoma Commerce Department. “Many of the (metropolitan statistical areas) with growth were in energy states.”
Nationally, average personal income growth for 2011 was 5.2 percent. The bureau said personal income rose in all 366 of the nation's metro areas for the first time since 2007.
Compensation in the mining sector, which includes most energy jobs, grew to $2.4 billion in the Oklahoma City metro in 2011, the bureau said. That's up from $1.85 billion in 2010. It was at $2.23 billion in 2008.
Compensation includes wages, retirement and medical insurance costs.
Meanwhile, inflation rose 2.4 percent nationally in 2011, the bureau said. That's up from 1.9 percent in 2010.
“Inflation takes away from purchasing power,” Chiappe said. “As the cost of goods increases, then anybody who earned $30,000 last year and this year is going to feel like they're not doing as well.”
The bureau calculates personal income by including all sources of income: wages, interest, dividends, rent, retirement payments, and government transfers such as Social Security and unemployment compensation. It then divides that number by population to come up with per capita income.
Per capita incomes in Oklahoma City and Tulsa metro areas both peaked in 2008 and fell sharply in 2009 as Oklahoma began feeling the effects of the national recession.
Per capita income grew in the Oklahoma City metro by 3.5 percent in 2010 and 5.9 percent in 2011, the bureau said. In Tulsa's metro area, it grew 3.8 percent in 2010 and 6.8 percent last year.
The Oklahoma City metro per capita income rose to $40,002 in 2011, the bureau said. That's up from $37,761 in 2010. Tulsa metro per capita income was $42,236 last year, up from $39,529 in 2010.
Nationally, per capita income averaged $41,560 in 2011. It ranged from a high of $78,504 in the Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk, Conn., metro area to a low of $21,620 in McAllen-Edinburg-Mission, Texas.
Inflation takes away from purchasing power. As the cost of goods increases, then anybody who earned $30,000 last year and this year is going to feel like they're not doing as well.”
Deputy division director of research and economic analysis at the Oklahoma Commerce Department