The next chart shows Spokane’s median income versus the median income for the state of Washington through 2010. Spokane median income runs about 80% of that at the State level and has fallen further and further behind since the 1970s. Specifically,the statewide median incomes grows 2 times faster than the median income in Spokane.
Washington State now ranks 8th in the nation for wage income growth, which apparently comes mostly from the west side of the state – where unemployment went down, unlike in Spokane where May unemployment became worse.
As shown below, Spokane has unfortunately been diverging further and further from the State’s median income.
The data comes from the Office of Financial Management.
As shown previously, transfer payments income into Spokane has gone up – sharply – although, per the previous article, nationally, transfer income has fallen in the first quarter of 2011. First quarter data is not available for Spokane.
Data comes from washington.reaproject.org
Note that transfer payments historically rise at the start of recessions. See 1973-1974, the early 80s, and then early 90s. Note how each time, the transfer payments dropped as the recession faded away.
Now look at 2001 – they never dropped afterwards here in Spokane. Then look at 2008 onwards. Will this drop when this recession recedes? With the loss of much industry here, I suspect many took involuntary early retirement (retirement benefits can be a source of transfer payments). This may be a semi-permanent upwards spike, as in 2001, from which the Spokane economy does not readily improve.