(courtesy photo)

YAKIMA, Wash. -- Personal income in Yakima County grew by at least 3.3 percent between 2015 and 2016, according to a report released Thursday by the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Economic Analysis.

That’s more than most metropolitan areas and well above rural areas.

In 2016, personal income in Yakima County averaged $40,558, up from $37,630 in 2015, according to the bureau.

On average, personal income rose 2.5 percent in 2016 in the metropolitan areas and rose 1 percent in the nonmetropolitan portion. Personal income growth in 2016 ranged from a 40.8 percent decline in Kenedy County, Texas, to a 27.1 percent increase in Tillman County, Okla.

Data released by the bureau shows personal income — income received by, or on behalf of, all persons from all sources such as earned income, investment income and government payments — grew in 2,285 counties across the country, fell in 795 counties and was unchanged in 33, the report said.

The U.S. shows an overall 2.3 percent growth, and Yakima County falls in a rather wide range between 3.3 and 27.1 percent.

Yakima’s increase is a part of a larger, nine-year state increase in personal income, said state Employment Security Department state economist Paul Turek.

“You have a continued pace of job growth and improvement of wages,” he said. “As that occurs and more people are employed and more spending takes place, you see more economic activity supported. It’s a self-repeating cycle.”

Yakima County has seen unemployment fall for 58 consecutive months, leading to notably low unemployment, according to the state Employment Security Department.

Personal income was counted from participation as laborers in production, owning a home or business, ownership of financial assets, and from government and business in the form of transfer receipts.

Personal income estimates released Thursday are part of a successively more detailed series of data released from the bureau.

Final data on real personal income for states and metropolitan areas will be released in May.

• Staff writer Kaitlin Bain contributed to this report.

Desk phone: (509) 759-7853

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