East Baton Rouge per capita personal income fell slightly last year

    Income growth per capita in East Baton Rouge Parish fell slightly last year, putting it near the bottom of all parishes in Louisiana for income growth, a new government report says.

    The region’s 0.1% drop in personal income growth per capita—a measure of all income received by residents divided by the population—put East Baton Rouge at No. 41 in a ranking of all 64 Louisiana parishes. Lafayette, whose income per capita dropped nine percentage points in that span, ranked dead last.

    Still, East Baton Rouge Parish’s $45,248 per capita personal income in 2016 was good enough to be the eighth-highest in the state. The per capita personal income metric is different from the commonly-used median income.

    Nationally, personal income grew in 2,285 counties, fell in 795 and remained unchanged in 33 in 2016, according to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis.

    Loren Scott, who conducts an annual economic outlook for the Capital Region, says the drop in incomes last year is probably not an early sign of the “cooling off” period he forecasts in the coming years.

    Instead, he points to the 2016 flood as a likely reason for the meager numbers.

    “We had a tremendous flood in August of ‘16 that caused our growth to go from really growing to go flat,” he says. “It was that strong a hit. There were a lot of people that weren’t able to work.”

    The fact that Lafayette posted the biggest loss in the state is unsurprising, Scott adds. The Acadiana region also weathered both a devastating flood and a continued downturn in the oil industry.

    The five parishes with the highest personal incomes per capita last year were St. Tammany, Caddo, Jefferson, Orleans and Plaquemines. The lowest-earning parishes per capita in 2016 were Madison, West Carroll, Catahoula, St. Bernard and Allen.

    Overall, Louisiana’s per capita personal income dropped 1.3% last year. The state has underperformed national growth in incomes since the recession.

    Check out the full report.

    —Sam Karlin

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