Tags: Parts | US | Recession | economy

Parts of US Actually Prospered During Recession

Friday, 03 February 2012 07:57 AM

The Great Recession left parts of the United States largely untouched, as portions of the country dependent on energy and agriculture thrived during the downturn, a Sentier Research study shows.

Texas and Iowa saw median household incomes rise from 2005-2010, which contained the recession, while states dependent on manufacturing and real estate got hammered.

"For the entire country, median annual household income fell 3.5 percent from $53,168 to $51,287 as unemployment more than doubled to about 10 percent, leaving more Americans seeking fewer positions and many of the unemployed taking lower-level jobs," USA Today reports, citing Sentier Research analysis based on Census Bureau data.

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"Overall, income rose in 12 of the 50 states and in Washington, D.C. The nation's capital, in fact, posted the biggest increase in household income, an 8.1 percent jump to $60,000 in the recession and its aftermath, as federal government payrolls grew."

Oil, coal and gas producer Wyoming fared the best, with median income rising 3.6 percent to $54,700, while energy-rich North Dakota, Alaska, Louisiana, West Virginia, Oklahoma and Texas also did well along with agriculture producers Iowa and Hawaii.

Michigan fared the worst, with median household income dropping 9.5 percent to $47,000 thanks to the damage the downturn inflicted on the auto industry. Income losers also included Indiana, Ohio, Minnesota, Florida, Nevada and Arizona.

Commerce Department data shows that Americans' income increased by 0.5 percent in December, while personal consumption fell by less than 0.1 percent, which shows savings may be on the rise again.

While consumer spending represents 70 percent of the U.S. economy, increased savings isn't a bad thing, as it means Americans aren't out running up debts, which exacerbated the recession in the first place.

"I say that savings are always good, because in the short term, savings has to make a better and strong economy," says Adolfo Laurenti, deputy chief economist at Chicago-based financial services firm Mesirow Financial, according to U.S. News and World Report.

"It means people are investing, people are paying off their debt, so I would not judge economics just by the standard of how much people are consuming."

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