Oregonians are losing ground to the average American based on 2008 per capita statistics recently reported by the Oregon Employment Department.
• Oregon’s per capita personal income fell 1.5 percent in 2008. From $36,492 in 2009 to $35,956. (inflation adjusted).
• Oregon’s per capita personal income went from 28th to 32nd. (From 2003-2008).
• Oregon’s growth over the period (3.8%) ranked 43rd.
• Oregon’s per capita personal income as a percentage of the national figure reached an all-time low in 2008. Oregonians were earning 90.5 percent of the national average, compared to 93.9 percent in 2003
• Oregon’s per capita personal income grew 3.8 percent, compared to the national average of 7.7 percent (Over the past five years) . The gap between Oregon’s per capita personal income and the national figure is the widest since at least 1929, the very first year data was collected.
• The Far West States ranked third among the eight regions of the U.S. with an average of $41,994. The states includes Alaska, Hawaii, California, Nevada, Washington, and Oregon. All of the Far West states other than Oregon recorded gains of more than 8 percent in their per capita personal income over the period.
• Oregonians were best off in 1943 . This is when they earned 124.4 percent of the national per capita personal income. The last time that Oregon’s figure was on par with the national average was 1980.
• About 40 percent of Oregon children currently live in low-income households. According to Oregon Live.
Nationally, per capita personal income rose from an adjusted $36,894 in 2003 to $39,751 in 2008, a 7.7 percent increase. However, the national figure peaked at an all-time high in 2007 when the average person made about $40,000.
Only 12 states and the District of Columbia posted gains to their adjusted per capita personal income in 2008—the national average declined 0.9 percent over the year.
In 2008, per capita personal income figures ranged from a high of $64,911 in the District of Columbia to a low of $29,569 in Mississippi.
New England and the Mideast were the wealthiest regions in 2008, with per capita personal incomes of $48,715 and $46,635, respectively. The Southeast ranked as the poorest region with a per capita personal income of just $35,706, just $250 below Oregon’s level.
Some possible reasons for Oregon’s downward slide:
• The result of relying on a manufacturing and a resource removal economy. It is unlikely that loggers, millworkers and factory assemblers can be retrained to be computer programmers, accountants, bio-research technicians or health care workers.
• With the exception of Intel and Nike, the lack of major technology and other major corporate headquarters that pay high salaries.
• Oregon’s tax system restructuring in the early 1990s. The demands on the state’s general fund, when faced with a decline in revenues, means pervasive paring of government services.
— Highlighst provided by Oregon Tax News 6/2009