Personal income in the Shoals is rising, though it is a long way from approaching the highest-paid city in the country.
A study released this week by the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis ranks the Florence/Muscle Shoals Statistical Metropolitan Area — Colbert and Lauderdale counties — 301st out of 366 metropolitan areas in the country in personal per capita income.
Personal per capita income in 2011 in the Shoals was $32,038, according to the study.
Local personal income was up 5.2 percent from 2009-10, and 3.1 percent from 2010-11, according to the new information.
By comparison, the Huntsville metropolitan area, which includes Madison and Limestone counties, ranked 102nd nationally at $40,126 in personal per capita income. The income growth rate there was 3.8 percent from 2009-10, and 3.4 percent from 2010-11, according to the study.
Steve Holt, president of the Shoals Chamber of Commerce, said the study shows “we’re moving in the right direction.”
“Some years back, we were in the bottom 10 percentile, so maybe in a few more years we will be in the top 10 percentile,” he said.
Holt said it hasn’t been that long ago that the Shoals’ personal per capita income was as much as $16,000 below that of Huntsville’s. Now, just more than $8,000 separates the two metropolitan areas.
“I’ll take that number,” he said.
The uptick in personal per capita income is viewed as a sign the economy is turning the corner after the Great Recession.
Nationally, metropolitan areas had an average per capita income of $41,560 in 2011. The highest was in Stamford, Conn, at $78,504. The lowest metropolitan per capita income was in Mission, Texas, at $21,620.
Decatur finished one notch ahead of the Shoals at 300, with an annual per capita income of $32,071 in 2011, according to the survey.
Robert Palmer can be reached at 256-740-5720 or robert.palmer@TimesDaily.com.