Louisiana workers’ personal income grew at a 2% annual rate in the first quarter of this year, slower than all but three states and below the national average of 4.8%, the federal government reports today.
Only Alaska (2%), Washington (1.9%) and Hawaii (1.3%) had income growth equal to or less than Louisiana’s, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Economic Analysis.
Louisiana Economic Development directed a request for comment to the Louisiana Workforce Commission, which did not respond to emails seeking comment in time for this report. The Baton Rouge Area Chamber also didn’t comment specifically on today’s BEA report, though a new BRAC analysis shows income grew last year across the Capital Region, just not enough to keep up with inflation.
Jan Moller with the left-leaning Louisiana Budget Project says Louisiana workers historically have received lower average wages than in other states, which helps explain why the state is still lagging. He says the state’s housing market seems to have cooled off a bit more than in other states.
Louisiana also is overrepresented in the accommodations and food services sector, which recently saw wages decline. Louisiana’s relatively poor population was also impacted more greatly by the end of federal pandemic benefits, Moller adds.
“You’re starting from a much smaller base,” he says.