Wisconsin personal income growth among slowest in the country in 2020

Wisconsin residents saw some of the slowest personal income growth of any state in the country in 2020, according to data released Wednesday by the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis.

State personal income increased 4.4% from 2019 in Wisconsin, which ranks 46th in the country. On a per capita basis, Wisconsin personal income increased 4.3%, which ranks 42nd in the country.

Nationally, personal income was up 6.1% and 5.8% on a per capita basis.

Per capita personal income in Wisconsin last year was $55,487 compared to $59,729 nationally.

Personal income gains last year were driven almost entirely by an increase in transfer receipts, which includes benefits from federal, state and local governments. That category covers the temporary $600 per week increase in unemployment benefits, the expansion of unemployment benefit eligibility and $1,200 stimulus payments to individuals.

Transfer receipts increased more than $1.14 trillion across the country or about 36.6%. In Wisconsin, transfer receipts increased nearly $14.8 billion or 27.4%, which was the 10th smallest increase in the country.

Total wages and salaries paid in Wisconsin last year dropped 0.5%, which ranks 32nd in the country. Nationally, wages and salaries increased 0.2%, led by more than 5% increased in Idaho and Utah.

Wisconsin’s manufacturing sector was particularly hard hit when it came to wages with a $993 million or 3.4% decline. A drop of nearly $1.1 billion in durable goods manufacturing wages was only partially offset by a $104 million gain in nondurable goods.

The decline in manufacturing wages in Wisconsin ranks 31st in the country while the durable goods manufacturing wage decline ranked 34th. Nationally, manufacturing wages were down 2.6% and wages in the durable goods sector were off 4.3%

Accommodation and food service was hit hard too in Wisconsin with wages down $577 million or 12.3%. Arts, entertainment and recreation wages in the state declined 13.4% or nearly $204 million.

On the positive side, the construction sector in Wisconsin saw a $380 million or 4.6% increase in wages and salaries last year. Finance and insurance wages in the state were up 3.5% or nearly $371 million. Wages in the information sector of Wisconsin were up 5% or nearly $200 million.

Retail trade in Wisconsin saw a 1.9% increase in wages and wholesale trade wages were up 0.9%.

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Arthur Thomas
Arthur covers banking and finance and the economy at BizTimes while also leading special projects as an associate editor. He also spent five years covering manufacturing at BizTimes. He previously was managing editor at The Waukesha Freeman. He is a graduate of Carroll University and did graduate coursework at Marquette. A native of southeastern Wisconsin, he is also a nationally certified gymnastics judge and enjoys golf on the weekends.

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