Income

Personal income is on the rise across the country, and some of the biggest increases are in Mountain West states, according to data published last week by the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis.

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Wyoming's personal income has increased by 6 percent in the second quarter of this year. The increase is higher than both the region and the rest of the country.

This summer, the housing market was expected to be extremely competitive, with lots of buyers vying for a limited number of homes. But it turns out, the housing market, including in our region, may finally be cooling down.

Lawrence Yun, chief economist with the National Association of Realtors, says home prices have been rising too fast -- much faster than people’s incomes.

U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson's recent proposal to triple rent for the lowest income households is part of what’s being called "Welfare Reform 2.0." This change to federal assistance could have a big impact on our growing region.

A new Bloomberg analysis looks at the widening gap between the rich and the poor in cities across the nation. 


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Wyoming’s personal income in 2016 declined by 1.7 percent, but the fourth quarter improvement has some believing things have stabilized. Economist Jim Robinson with Wyoming’s Economic Analysis Division said the economy was in very bad shape last summer, but there were signs of life at the end of the year, which gives him some minor optimism. But Robinson said that low oil and gas prices will keep that optimism in check.

“I think the optimism right now is that it won’t get any worse and it looks like it will stay like this for a while longer.”

Wyoming's average personal income of just over $55,000 ranked seventh in the nation in 2015. Wyoming workers earned over $10,000 higher than the average in the region.

However, wages decreased by $37 million in the fourth quarter of 2015, compared to the third. According to the state's Economic Analysis Division, the construction sector has had the largest impact on income growth, while mining and farming have seen the biggest decline.

Economist Jim Robinson says despite recent downward trends in the energy industry, he expects things to stabilize.

Aaron Schrank

    

Income and wealth disparities in the U.S. are the most pronounced they’ve been in decades. Perhaps nowhere is the gap between luxury and poverty more apparent than in Jackson. The small ski town sits in the county with the highest average income in the country. But it’s also home to a growing number of Mexican immigrants who come to work in Jackson’s tourism economy. Teton County residents boast a median household income of $72,000, but for immigrant households, it’s just $26,000. That inequity has repercussions for Jackson's youth.