The wallets of most area Floridians continue to grow. Just not as fast as they might like.
Personal income rose in 2016 in most counties making up the greater Tampa Bay area, with Pinellas boasting both the highest average income of $49,186 and the fastest rate of growth in the metro area at 1.5 percent, according to estimates released Thursday by the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis.
The bad news is the national average growth of personal income in counties located in metropolitan areas was 2.5 percent. That's a full percentage point higher than Pinellas' income growth and the latest signal that Florida incomes, even in metros with stronger economies, in general are failing to keep up with cities across the country.
Based on all U.S. counties, metropolitan and rural alike, the nation's average personal income rose 1.6 percent to $49,246. Statewide, Florida's average personal income rose 1.1 percent in 2016 to $45,953.
Pinellas was the only county within the Tampa Bay metro area whose income figure topped the overall state average. Hillsborough's average personal income of $43,803 was $5,383 less than that in Pinellas and grew at a slower pace.
Pinellas' average personal income last year ranked 10th among Florida's 67 counties. But it remains far below top-ranked Collier County's $84,101 and well above last-ranked Union County in north Florida at $19,374.
Personal income grew in 2016 in 2,285 counties nationwide, fell in 795, and was unchanged in 33. In Florida, personal income grew in 51 counties and fell in 16 — including a 0.3 percent drop in Manatee.
Personal income, the BEA stated, includes income from working pay, and owning a home or unincorporated business as well as financial assets, and receiving transfer receipts from government and business.