Report: Oklahoma 34th In Personal Income Growth

Friday, June 22nd 2007, 2:53 pm
By: News On 6

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) _ Government statistics show Oklahoma trailed the nation as a whole in personal income growth for the first quarter, but a state official said Friday he's not concerned. Figures released by the U.S. Commerce Department's Bureau of Economic Analysis showed that personal income in Oklahoma grew by 1.7 percent, compared to a national growth rate of 2.2 percent.

Among the 50 states and the District of Columbia, Oklahoma ranked 34th in personal income, which includes earnings, dividends and interest and other income. The state's growth rate was up from 1.1 percent growth of 2006, a banner year, economically, for Oklahoma, said state Treasurer Scott Meacham. He said it was a mistake to try to gauge the state's economy based on statistics from one quarter of the year.

In 2006, Meacham noted, Oklahoma finished with a personal income growth rate for the year of 7.6 percent, third in the nation. That year, he said, the state economy in one quarter grew by just .4 percent. He said a siege of ice and snow storms early this year likely had a negative impact on the state economy. ``I think it (growth) was artificially lower because of the weather.''

``It will be interesting to see how the rains are going to affect us for this quarter and how they will affect our wheat harvest,'' he said.

Personal income totaled $119.1 billion in the first quarter in Oklahoma, an increase of $117.1 billion in the fourth quarter. Officials believe a drop in farming income was a factor in the decline in the state's personal income growth.

The Southwest region of which Oklahoma is part was one of the fastest growing areas in the state last year, mainly because of income growth in the energy sector, particularly oil and natural gas extraction.

New York had a personal income growth rate of 4.7 percent in the first quarter to lead the nation. The growth in New York and other populous states in the Midwest and eastern states was linked mostly to a healthy finance industry.