Personal income grew by 4.1% across the nation in 2015. The vast majority of metropolitan areas contributed to this growth, but in 10 urban regions, incomes declined. Personal income, which tracks all income received by all persons in an area, generally reflects how well an economy is doing.
Based on recently released data from the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA), 24/7 Wall St. reviewed the metropolitan statistical areas with the largest personal income growth rates, and the ones with the greatest declines.
> Income growth in 2015: 8.0%
> Income growth 2010-2015: 23.6%
> Per capita income: $49,465
> May unemployment rate: 2.6%
The Nashville metro area’s 8.0% growth in income in 2015 is due in part to the area’s 2.0% population growth, which was more than double the 0.7% U.S. population growth.
The metro area’s thriving professional and business services industry also likely played a role in the metro area’s near nation leading income growth. The industry contributed far more than any other to Nashville’s 3.9% GDP growth in 2015. The metro area’s largest industry by total employment, professional and business services, is also high paying. The average annual salary in Nashville’s professional business services industry is $65,539, well above the area’s $49,465 per capita income.
Growth rates were calculated based on total real personal income — which includes compensation, income from property and from owning a business, minus contributions to the government — for all people in each metro area. Since growth rates were based on aggregate incomes, an increase in a city’s population was often a major driver of growth.
Many of the metro areas where incomes declined have struggled due to their dependence on the floundering extraction industries. Many of the cities where incomes are growing the fastest, by contrast, have budding technology industries.