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Spotlight on the economy: Where incomes are rising the fastest

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Income growth was strong for workers in the accommodation and food services field during 2021.

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Incomes across the Buffalo Niagara region, which spiked at the start of the Covid pandemic, fell back to a more normal growth pattern last year.

On a per capita basis, real personal income across the region rose by around 2.9% to $55,200, according to data released by the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis and adjusted for inflation by The Buffalo News. That's less than half of the 7.1% increase during 2020, but more in line with income growth during non-pandemic years since 2017.

But the data also shows that personal income growth here lagged far behind the national gains. Personal income – a broad-based measure than includes wages as well as other sources of income from dividends and rent to government benefits - rose by 2.9% last year, half as much as the nationwide increase of 5.8%.

Income growth was the strongest in sectors that were hit hard by Covid staffing shortages, including the accommodation and food services sector and retail. Those also tend to be low-paying industries that also were impacted by the rise in the minimum wage and upward pressure on wages that was especially strong with entry-level positions

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