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E'town MSA sees bump in real personal income

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Area among highest in growth gains

By Marty Finley

The Elizabethtown Metropolitan Statistical Area continues to see gains in income growth, which one local official tied to the saturation of high-paying jobs in the area.

A report released this week by the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis shows the Elizabethtown MSA recorded a 5.4 percent increase in real personal income growth from 2010 to 2011.

The total real personal income growth in the MSA grew from $4.5 to $4.8 billion, according to the report. Last year, the MSA saw an increase in real personal income growth of 7.1 percent, the report said.

Real personal income is personal income per capita adjusted for inflation.

Rick Games, president of the Elizabethtown-Hardin County Industrial Foundation, said the numbers did not surprise him because the Elizabethtown MSA, which contains Hardin, LaRue and Meade counties, has a steady supply of higher paying jobs offered through Fort Knox, the manufacturing industry and other sources. With some local manufacturers expanding facilities, more positions have become available, which has attracted job seekers, Games said.

Two Texas MSAs saw the highest rate of real personal income growth from 2010 to 2011 and were the only two metropolitan areas in the country to obtain double-digit growth rates. Odessa, Texas, recorded the largest growth surge at 11.9 percent while Midland, Texas, followed at 10.7 percent, according to the report.

Elizabethtown’s growth was good enough for 14th among all MSAs, the report showed.

Games said it is next to impossible to stay at the top as other areas catch up in this economy, but if the Elizabethtown MSA can maintain growth within the top 25 MSAs in the country, it will be impressive.

“That says a lot for staying power,” he said.

Hardin County Judge-Executive Harry Berry said the gains are welcome and maintaining a spot in the top 10 to 25 percent of MSAs in terms of growth is cause for celebration.

“That bodes well for our economy,” he said.

Berry said the bureau’s report also showed Kentucky ranked favorably nationally in terms of cost-of-living, proving to be a cheaper place to live than many of its counterparts. He said that is noticed by industries and those looking to move.

The report follows a recent designation for the MSA as a leading location for economic and workforce growth by Area Development Magazine, an executive publication covering corporate site selection and relocation. The Elizabethtown MSA finished 23rd overall and was nin9th among small cities.

Marty Finley can be reached at (270) 505-1762 or mfinley@thenewsenterprise.com.