Thursday, March 24, 2016

NM Income Growth Relies On Government

Government Payments Account for Half of NM Income Growth

BY 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

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