Maine’s third-quarter personal income growth rate ranked first in New England

Posted Dec. 23, 2013, at 12:04 p.m.

Maine’s personal income grew in the third quarter at a faster pace than any other New England state, according to new data from the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis.

Maine’s personal income was roughly $54.9 billion in the third quarter of 2013, a 1.15 percent increase from the second quarter. That growth rate was the largest in New England and 17th nationally, according to the BEA data. Massachusetts and Rhode Island were right behind Maine, both posting growth rates of 1.11 percent.

The increase in personal income is a sign the state’s economy continues to improve, according to Amanda Rector, Maine’s state economist. In a statement released Monday, Rector noted that Maine in the past two years has experienced income growth in seven of the last eight quarters, with the recent third quarter’s growth rate being the second-highest during that period.

Personal income consists of the sum of net earnings by place of residence, property income and personal current transfer receipts. The main driver of the third quarter’s growth was net earnings, which is earnings by place of work minus contributions for government social insurance, according to the BEA’s methodology.

Maine’s net earnings increased 0.8 percent in the third quarter, the highest growth in New England and above the national rate of 0.7 percent. The industries contributing the most to that growth were construction and retail trade, increasing by $38 million and $42 million, respectively.

Rector said Maine’s improving employment picture has contributed to its growth in net earnings. Maine’s unemployment rate was 6.4 percent in November, the lowest its been in five years.

“The recent upward trends in employment and the employment-to-population ratio as well as declines in the unemployment rate are having a positive impact on wages and salaries in Maine,” Rector said in the statement. “The latest upward revisions to national GDP for the third quarter of 2013 and the recent budget deal in Congress should boost consumer and business confidence, setting the stage for continued economic growth in 2014.”

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