Metro area personal earnings dampened in 2013

WASHINGTON– In a key economic measure, Maryland, Virginia and the District stand out, but not in a good way.

Personal income growth slowed in every state in the nation last year compared to 2012, according to figures from the Commerce Department. But the growth rates in our area are among the country’s lowest.

Personal income grew in Maryland last year by 2 percent, 2.1 percent in Virginia, and 1.6 percent in D.C. That compares to the 7.6 percent growth rate in North Dakota, the state with the highest personal income growth thanks to the boom in oil and gas drilling.

Nevada’s 4.3 percent earnings growth in 2013 exceeded the national average for the first time since the recession ended in 2009, according to the Commerce release. The construction and accommodations industries provided the largest contributions to earnings growth there in 2013.

Americans’ personal income growth slowed largely because of the end of the so- called “payroll tax holiday” at the start of the year, when employers resumed full deductions for Social Security and Medicare.

The metro area’s reliance on the federal government particularly hurt its personal earnings. The Commerce report said income among members of the civilian federal workforce fell by about 1 billion dollars last year in D.C., Maryland and Virginia combined.

Nationwide, earnings among civilian federal government workers fell a total of $6.7 billion, while in every other industry earnings grew in 2013.

Besides automatic spending cuts in the federal budget, the government shutdown also took a toll. While federal workers were reimbursed for time off during the shutdown, federal contractors were not.

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