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Holiday shoppers walk past an Apple Store in San Francisco, Calif., Nov. 23. News that personal income grew in all major American metropolitan areas in 2011 should bode well for the U.S. economy.


Personal income grew in all major U.S. metropolitan areas in 2011, the first time in four years that all of the country's 366 large cities and surrounding suburbs registered increases, according to federal data released on Monday.

The range of growth was wide, with Odessa, Tex., seeing the largest local personal income growth over the year at 14.8 per cent, and Rochester, Minn., the smallest at 1 per cent. On average, incomes were up 5.2 per cent across all metropolitan statistical areas in 2011, compared with 3.9 per cent in 2010.

The news should bode well for the U.S. economy, as metropolitan areas account for 87 per cent of the nation's personal income, and are also home to the majority of U.S. jobs and residents. In 2011, personal income in the entire United States grew 5.2 per cent, compared to 3.8 per cent in 2010, the Bureau of Economic Analysis said.

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Rising agriculture and commodity prices generated much of the improving wealth. Mining and related industries not only lifted the incomes of Odessans, but also of residents of neighbouring Midland, Tex., which ranked second for growth at 14.6 per cent.

Of the 50 counties with fastest personal income growth, 45 were located in the Plains states such as Nebraska, North Dakota and South Dakota, and "increases in farm income were a major factor in the growth rates for most," according to the report.

Altogether, personal income rose in 3,062 of the country's 3,113 counties in 2011. The range of growth was much more vast, with personal incomes rising 62.2 per cent in King County, Tex., and shrinking 28.8 per cent in Lynn County, Tex.

When measured by per capita, the highest personal income was in the Connecticut metropolitan area encompassing Bridgeport, Stamford and Norwalk, $78,504 (U.S.). The lowest, $21,620, was in the Texas area of McAllen, Edinburg and Mission. For the country as a whole per-capita income was $41,560.

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