Income growth is one of the most watched economic statistics. N.C. State University economist Mike Walden explains what recently released income growth statistics for 2012 showed for North Carolina.
“Well …, you know we’re always looking for numbers that indicate where we are economically in the country and certainly here in North Carolina. And these numbers were just released, and actually they show North Carolina did very well by this measure last year, in 2012.
“What we’re looking at here is the growth in total personal income, simply income received by persons not just from working but from all sources – investments, government programs, et cetera. And the good news … is that among all the states in the country, North Carolina on this measure was in the highest 20 percent of states. That is, we were in the top echelon. In the Southeast, we also did very well. Comparatively, only South Carolina, Tennessee and Alabama were as high or higher.
“Now we want to know, well, why … did we do so well? And I think there’s a mixed picture here. I think some of it was due to the fact that we are adding jobs. And, actually …, we are adding jobs in North Carolina, but many people don’t realize this (is) at a faster rate than the country.
“It’s also due to people getting some modest … pay raises.
“And then, finally, people who are moving here: We are still very high among the states in terms of what’s called in-migration, people moving here from other states. So, I think this is a … good sign, and I think it can be interpreted as indicating that North Carolina’s economy is beginning to accelerate and maybe better things will be on the horizon.”