Government Payments Account for Half of NM Income GrowthBY DENNIS DOMRZALSKI Here's another sign of how dependent New Mexico's economy is on government: In 2015, the state's personal income grew by $2.84 billion, or 3.7 percent. But half of that growth was due to government transfer payments, things like Social Security, unemployment, food stamps, and Medicaid and Medicare payments. Transfer payments accounted for $1.42 billion, or 50.25 percent of the $2.84 billion increase. Net earnings, meaning the money people make from their jobs, made up $852 million of the increase, or 29.9 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis said Thursday. The third component of personal income—dividends, interest and rent—accounted for $563 million of the increase, or 19.8 percent. Personal income is defined as all income to all residents from all sources. Total personal income in New Mexico was $80.2 billion in 2015, the BEA said. When it comes to per capita personal income, New Mexico remained near the bottom—in 46th place—with a per capita income in 2015 of $38,457, or 81 percent of the national average of $47,669. Only Mississippi, West Virginia, South Carolina and Idaho had lower per capita incomes than New Mexico. In New Mexico, income fell in three major private-sector industries: farming, down 20.4 percent; oil and gas, down 5.8 percent; and durable goods manufacturing, down 5.3 percent. Nationally, state personal income grew by an average of 4.4 percent in 2015. Connecticut had the highest per capita income, $66,972, or 140 percent of the national average. Mississippi had the lowest at $35,444, or 74 percent of the national average. Dennis Domrzalski is news editor of ABQ Free Press. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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