WASHINGTON — U.S. personal income continued to decline in the first quarter of 2009, falling 0.5 percent and encompassing 37 states, according to estimates released by the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis. However, Mississippi and most of the Southeast, including Mississippi, saw a rise.
In the fourth quarter of 2008, U.S. personal income fell 0.4 percent. The declines in U.S. personal income were offset by inflation, as measured by the national price index for personal consumption expenditures, which fell 0.3 percent in the first quarter of 2009 after falling 1.2 percent in the fourth quarter of 2008.
Job losses, lower interest rates and smaller corporate dividend payments all helped to push personal income down in the first quarter. The decline in personal income was moderated by rising unemployment insurance benefits for displaced workers, cost of living adjustments for retirees and pay raises for government employees.
The Southeast region, encompassing 12 states, outpaced all nine regions. Mississippi, Arkansas, Tennessee, Kentucky, Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina all saw an increase in personal income. Georgia, Alabama, Louisiana, Florida and West Virginia posted decreases.