The current issue of Marple's Pacific Northwest Letter ($) tallies up personal income figures for Northwest metro areas. One shocker is how low the figure is for Portland, a booming area that is still shy on high-paying jobs. Or, conversely, how affluent Seattle is.
To cut to the chase: 2007 personal income per capita in the Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue metro area is $48,499, where the average wage (for 2006) was $62,246; in Portland-Vancouver-Beaverton, the corresponding figures are $38,511 and $51,684. Editor Mike Parks properly calls attention to the wealth effects of Microsoft's 40,000 employees in the region and Boeing and aerospace adding 25,000 new jobs since the cyclical low four years ago. The Seattle area ranks 13th among the nation's 363 metro areas; the Portland area ranks 78th in income per capita.
Scanning the Northwest, some other interesting figures appear. Cities with healthy income figures are Anchorage, Corvallis, Billings (a high-tech center), Bremerton-Silverdale (Defense jobs and affluent commuters), Olympia, and Boise. Boise and Bend have the fastest 10-year growth rates. Among the five Northwest states, the 10-year growth rate is best in Idaho, followed by Montana, Washington, Alaska, and Oregon.
Overall, the Northwest outpaces the nation, and editor Parks expects it to continue that way, citing job growth in aerospace and software, exports, and influx of population.