Recently updated data from the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) shows that per capita personal income in Pickens County grew by 4.35 percent from 2017, to $47,887 in 2018.
Per capita personal income is personal income divided by population and residents here saw their incomes grow by almost $2,000 in 2018 over the previous year. Ten years earlier, in 2008, Pickens County’s per capita income was $35,008.
Pickens’ $47,887 per capita personal income figure leads our 15-county Northwest Georgia region. Murray County is the lowest in the region at $29,968.
While all of the counties in our region showed positive growth, the growth did trail the national non-metropolitan rate for the nation as a whole, which was 4.8 percent. The rate for the entire state of Georgia was up 4.3 percent.
According to the BEA, in 2018, personal income across the U.S. increased in 3,019 counties, decreased in 91, and was unchanged in three. Personal income increased 5.7 percent in the metropolitan portion of the United States and increased 4.8 percent in the non-metropolitan portion. In metro counties, the percent change in personal income ranged from 3.2 percent in Lynn County, Texas to 17.5 percent in Midland County, Texas. In non-metro counties, it ranged from -20.8 percent in Sherman County, Texas, to 64.5 percent in Issaquena County, Mississippi.
In the metropolitan portion of the United States, per capita personal income increased 4.9 percent in 2018, up from 4.1 percent in 2017, according to the BEA. In the non-metropolitan portion of the United States, per capita personal income increased 4.7 percent, up from 3.3 percent.
Education and professional certifications are often the keys to higher incomes. According to Anita Mashburn, marketing and PR coordinator with Chattahoochee Technical College, the Appalachian campus in Jasper’s largest program is welding with 62 students. Starting salaries for these graduates, she said, average around $40,000 according to figures from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Another high demand field, Mashburn said, is auto collision. Graduates’ salaries in this field often range from $35,000 to $40,000 to start. Automotive Collision Repair program instructor Devon Parks said those salaries “can generally double after a year or two of experience in the field.”
Mashburn noted another field with high demand is medical assisting and students who earn degrees in this field find jobs easily and quickly.