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Rural areas lead in income growth

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By Harold Morgon

Mostly we see the day-to-day. The long-term isn’t noticed. Once in a while, though, changes grab our attention. Our children, toddlers just yesterday, get married. The lovely olive colored dishwasher from the ’70s now is ridiculed.

Our economy is the same way. Unbeknownst to those of us buried in the day-to-day, from 2000 to 2008, some interesting and unreported things happened around New Mexico. The observation comes from annual per capita income figures for counties released in April by the Bureau of Economic Analysis.

Start with income being up 87 percent in Lea County. No other county broke 80 percent for the period.

These year-to-year income figures may look quite different when the 2009 numbers appear. That’s because statewide gross receipts declined starting in March 2009 and stayed there for a year. The drop in gross receipts no doubt reflects the nine-month drop in total personal income starting with the third quarter of 2008. People were earning less and finally reduced spending.

Total personal income across New Mexico increased two-tenths of one percent from the third quarter of 2008 through the end of 2009. Inflation, happily low as it is, will have more than wiped out this tiny increase.