By James Clary
On April 21 2011, the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) released 2009 income data for regions and localities. The data showed that total personal income declined by 0.4% to $66.2 billion dollars in Hampton Roads, the 36th largest region in the country in terms of income (the region is also the 36th largest in terms of population according to the BEA). In spite of the region’s decline, Hampton Roads’ loss compared favorably to national income which declined by 1.7%. The 2009 decline in the region’s personal income marks the end of a remarkable decade of growth for Hampton Roads’ incomes, as regional incomes are 67.8% higher than they were in 1999.
Per capita income in Hampton Roads was $39, slightly below the national average, and the 79th highest in the country (out of 366 Metropolitan Statistical Areas). In 1999, Hampton Roads had the 165th highest per capita income; the region’s per capita income has grown from 89% of the nation’s per capita income in 1999 to just below the national average (99.7%) in 2009.
The BEA information also provides comprehensive information regarding the region’s employment. According to the BEA, total regional employment has declined by 34 jobs between 2008 and 2009. The decline was driven by losses in manufacturing, construction, and retail trade jobs (approximately 7 jobs lost in each industry); this 3.3% decline in employment leaves 1 jobs in Hampton Roads. No Hampton Roads industry gained more than 2 jobs in 2009. It is important to remember that these figures are for the second year of the recession, and do not capture the nation’s slow recovery that began in 2010. Between 1999 and 2009 Hampton Roads added 72 jobs even with the recent losses, a 7.7% increase over the start of the period; this compares favorably to the nation which experienced a 7.6% increase in employment over that same time period.