Personal income in San Diego declines for first time
THURSDAY, APRIL 21, 2011 AT 12:11 P.M.
For the first time in four decades,personal income in San Diego County declined, further proof of the deep economic toll the recession took on people's lives.
In a new report released by theBureau of Economic Analysis, totalincome in the county in 2009 was $139.5 billion, a decline of 1.7 percent from 2008, which mirrors the drop in the nation as a whole. The decrease, however, was not as steep as the 2.3 percent drop statewide.
The personal income figure takes into account not only job earnings, but also income from savings, employer-provided health insurance, unemployment benefits and Social Security.
Among large counties, the change in personal income from 2008 to 2009 ranged from an 8.1 percent decline -- in Oakland County, Mich. -- to a 4.2 percent gain in Loudoun County, VA.Growth slowed in all but one of the nation’s 255 large counties.
"I'm not surprised by this," said University of San Diego economist Alan Gin. "It’s all due to the big downturn in the economy. It was so fast and so severe that it would lead to this drop."
He noted that San Diego recorded its largest job loss -- 70,000 -- between 2008 and 2009. By comparison, worst previous decline was in the early 1990s recession when the county saw 14,000 jobs disappear.
Economist David Lenze with the Bureau of Economic Analysis agreed that a combination of high unemployment, a deep recession and a sharp slide in the stock market contributed to the unprecedented decline in personal income.
"Typically, personal income grows from year to year, so a decline is unusual," he said. "And of course, 2009 was a year we were in recession when a large number of people lost their jobs."
Within the state, the county's total personal income ranked third, behind Los Angeles and Orange counties, while its per capita income of $45,706 ranked 13th.