Whatcom County was slightly behind the rest of the country when it came to personal income growth in 2012.
A new federal report indicates Whatcom County's per capita personal income was $39,117 last year, a 3.1 percent increase compared to 2011. The national average for per capita personal income was a 3.4 percent increase. The data comes from the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis.
Whatcom's personal income has risen annually since 2009 between 2 percent and 4.3 percent. In 2009 personal income declined 2.6 percent, the first decline in this area in more than 40 years.
Personal income, as defined by the bureau, is the income received by all persons from all sources. Along with net earnings at work, it includes rental and interest income, as well as government benefits.
Whatcom's personal income in 2012 ranked 175th out of 381 metro areas, according to the report. Midland, Texas, had the highest per capita income in 2012, at $83,049. According to the report, the oil industry was a major factor in Midland's income growth in recent years.
The Seattle metro area per capita personal income was $53,328 in 2012, a 4.1 percent increase compared to the previous year. Seattle's personal income ranks 16th highest in the nation.
Kennewick was one of only five metro areas that experienced a decline in personal income. According to the report, a temporary infusion of federal funds for environmental cleanup peaked in 2011. Since that time, earnings in that waste management services sector have fallen 20.5 percent.