Bureau of Economic Analysis Releases 2015 Local Area Personal Income Figures for Jackson County

Bureau of Economic Analysis Releases 2015 Local Area Personal Income Figures for Jackson County

by Guy Tauer

December 29, 2016

New figures published from the Bureau of Economic Analysis show healthy gains in Oregon and Rogue Valley per capita personal income (PCPI) between 2014 and 2015. PCPI is just one of the figures recently released in the State and Local Area Personal Income series available now for 2015 at

PCPI is one of the most often cited figures to measure an area’s overall economic health and prosperity. But there are a few factors that make this an imperfect yardstick to compare local areas and economies. Since the data use total income – net income; personal current transfer receipts; and dividends, interest, and rent – and divide that by total population, areas with a higher concentration of older residents can show lower PCPI. The reason is that as people leave the labor force, they have likely passed their peak earning years, and therefore have less contribution to the net earnings component of net income. Remember PCPI represents income, rather than wealth. Older residents may have substantial wealth, but not have as much relative income, and this wealth would not be captured in PCPI figures, unless it was income-generating investments that would show up in the “dividends, interest, and rent” portion of PCPI.

Another limitation of comparing local economies using PCPI as a yardstick is that there is no accounting for the differences in cost-of-living among local areas. Places with lower cost of living and lower PCPI can be relatively as well-off as areas with higher cost of living and higher PCPI. Knowing the limitations of the data can help you understand how to view the figures in a clearer context. All that being said, lets forge ahead and look at the new figures for 2015.

In 2015, Jackson County’s PCPI was $40,698, the 12th highest PCPI among Oregon’s counties. PCPI rose by 5.3 percent from 2014, slightly faster growth than for Oregon statewide (5.0%) and the U.S. (3.7%). Jackson County’s PCPI was 93 percent of the statewide PCPI.

About one-half of Jackson County’s PCPI is from net earnings, which includes wage and salary income, farm and non-farm proprietor income. Jackson County net earnings are only about 80 percent of the Oregon statewide net earnings figures. Average earnings per job in Jackson County were $44,156 compared with $52,930 for Oregon as a whole. Average nonfarm proprietor income in Jackson County slightly exceeded the Oregon average, at $27,444 versus the state’s $26,395. Farm proprietor income is where Jackson County lags and is the largest factor in lagging the state’s PCPI figures in average wage and salaries, with Oregon at $49,206 and Jackson County at only $40,490.

Per capita personal current transfer receipts made up about 20 percent of Oregon’s PCPI and 26 percent in Jackson County. About 90 percent of Jackson County personal current transfer receipts were from “retirement and other income,” reflecting our slightly older population with more retirees that the state overall. Jackson County had higher per capita personal current transfer receipts ($10,643) than Oregon ($8,861).

Per capita dividends, interest, and rent income accounted for about 22 percent of Jackson’s PCPI in 2015, just slightly higher than for Oregon at about 19 percent. Jackson County also had higher per capita dividends, interest, and rent income, at $8,897 compared with Oregon’s $8,455 figure.

Another statistic available from the BEA is total employment broken out by proprietors and wage and salary employment. In 1969, just less than 20 percent of total employment was proprietors. That share increased fairly steadily until 2011 when it peaked at 28.1 percent. Since then the share of total employment by proprietors slipped slight to 27 percent in 2015.

In 2003, Jackson’s PCPI was only 3.7 percent below the statewide average. By 2012, Jackson County’s PCPI was 8.5 percent lower than Oregon’s, a difference of $3,337. By 2015, the gap fell to $3,085 or 7.0 percent below Oregon’s PCPI.

There are many other data and statistics available from the State and Local Personal Income series published by the Bureau of Economic Analysis. For more information, visit the website and explore the interactive tables listed.