Michigan, Florida Lead 34 States With Drop in Household Income
Michigan and Florida led 34 U.S. states whose median household income fell in 2009, up from eight with declines the year before, as the worst recession since the Great Depression sapped Americans’ earnings.
Nationally, median household income fell 3 percent in 2009 to $50,221, the second straight annual drop, the Census Bureau said in its 2009 American Community Survey. Income in Michigan fell 6.2 percent to $45,255, while Florida followed with a drop of 5.7 percent, to $44,736, the bureau said in a report on its website.
The recession ended in June 2009, the National Bureau of Economic Research said last week, even as a slowdown in economic growth raises the prospects of another slump. The nation’s jobless rate was 9.6 percent last month, more than double the level of three years earlier.
The national recession “hammered the economy and engulfed every state,” said Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Analytics Inc. in West Chester, Pennsylvania. “We’re light years away from gaining jobs.”
North Dakota was the only state whose income rose in 2009. The state’s median climbed 5.1 percent to $47,827, for the eighth straight annual gain. Fifteen states and the District of Columbia showed changes that were statistically insignificant, the bureau said.
Recession and Deficits
The national recession choked tax collections and drove deficits in 46 states to a total of $121 billion, or about a fifth of their fiscal 2011 budgets, the Washington, D.C.-based Center on Budget and Policy Priorities said in a July report.
Guy LeBas, chief fixed-income strategist with Janney Montgomery Scott LLC in Philadelphia, a financial-advisory firm, said the decline in income is due to high unemployment and fewer hours worked by people who have jobs.
“We expect this to continue for a number of years,” LeBas said in an interview. “The only thing that’s going to generate significant spending growth is significant income growth.”
Employers in Michigan cut 50,300 jobs last month, the biggest drop since January 2009, figures from the Labor Department showed. The state’s unemployment rate was 13.1 percent in August, the country’s second-highest after Nevada. Florida’s unemployment rate was 11.7 percent last month.
Maryland had the highest income for a fourth consecutive year, at $69,272, even as its median dropped from $70,545 in 2008, the bureau said. The bureau noted that Maryland’s total wasn’t statistically different from that of New Jersey and Alaska. Mississippi had the lowest for at least the fifth straight year, at $36,646. The bureau said Mississippi’s median was statistically the same as West Virginia’s.
The American Community Survey data are used to help determine the annual distribution of more than $400 billion in federal and state funds, the bureau said.
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