KNAU and Arizona News
4:00 am
Mon April 2, 2012

AZ Personal Incomes Rising

The official report from the Bureau of Economic Analysis puts per capita  personal income in Arizona last year at $35,875. That's a 3.9 percent increase over the prior year. But that was not enough to keep pace with the rest of the nation were income went up 4.3 percent. The result is that Arizona remains in 40th place. Economist Tom Rex of Arizona State University said the numbers were to be expected.

"We're very, very cyclical in Arizona," said Rex. "I'm not surprised that we'd have another pretty mediocre year. Things will turn here over the next couple of years."

Rex said the real per capita figure may actually be a bit higher than the federal agency claims.

"They overestimated the rate of population growth throughout the last decade. And they still have not figured that the employer sanctions law is in effect here," said Rex. "And that's have an effect on the number of immigrants."

That law allows a judge to suspend or revoke the licenses of any firm found guilty of knowingly hiring undocumented workers, a law Rex said probably resulted in many moving elsewhere. Put simply, Rex said, it's a math problem: If the federal government used a lower -- and he believes more accurate -- population figure, than the per capita income would be higher. 

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