Personal Income Up in Mobile County
Wednesday, Aug 11, 2010

Mobile County eked out a small gain in personal income in 2009, a good showing in a year when barely more than a third of metro areas showed increases.

Personal income rose 0.3 percent in Mobile in 2009 to $12.5 billion, according to figures released Monday by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Growth was much lower than the 4.7 percent Mobile recorded in 2008, but it was better than the 2.8 percent decline for all metro areas in 2009. It also outstripped the 1 percent decline for all of Alabama and the 1.7 percent decline for the entire nation.

On a per-capita basis, personal income in Mobile County fell 0.3 percent to $30,468 from $30,567. The per-capita figure dropped because the county's population grew more rapidly than personal income.

Personal income is all the income received by everyone from every source, including wages, business owner profits, interest, dividends, rent and government transfers. It can serve as a rough measure of the size and health of an area's economy.

The per-capita measure divides total personal income by population; it is not a direct measure of the typical income of a worker or household.
Per-capita personal income for metro areas in the region, ranked by growth or decline:
Pensacola, $33,596, up 0.8 percent
Pascagoula, $33,594, down 0.1 percent
Mobile, $30,468, down 0.3 percent
Huntsville, $38,090, down 0.4 percent
Montgomery, $35,973, down 0.4 percent
Gulfport-Biloxi, $35,540, down 0.4 percent
Birmingham, $38,468, down 3.6 percent
-- Bureau of Labor Statistics

Mobile's relatively strong showing is mainly thanks to a big bump in transfer payments, which grew 9.9 percent year-over-year. Income from dividends, interest and rent fell 6.2 percent, reflecting in part rock-bottom interest rates.

Wage and salary income fell 1.6 percent overall in Mobile. Government employee wages grew 4.3 percent, an exception that the Bureau of Labor Statistics said was a national trend. Private sector wages fell 2.6 percent.

Income growth was most strongly concentrated in military towns, the report found, with Jacksonville, N.C., home to a large Marine Corps base, leading the way with personal income growth of 14.4 percent. Coming in last among the 366 metro areas was Naples-Marco Island, Fla., where personal income fell 7.1 percent for the year.