Personal income in all Ninth District states grew less than the national average in the first quarter of 2014, according to just-released figures from the Bureau of Economic Analysis.
Quarterly personal income in North Dakota fell at an annualized rate of 2.9 percent, the worst of any state (see chart). Personal income in both North Dakota and South Dakota fell two quarters in a row.
The subpar economic performance is almost wholly due to huge reductions in farm earnings, which were steepest in North Dakota (see table). Crop prices for most of the district crop commodities fell, while many input costs rose. This put downward pressures on farm earnings. However, Wisconsin saw gains in farm earnings, possibly attributable to dairy, whose output prices remained firm as feed input costs decreased.
In that light, economic conditions are not as dire as they might seem. Almost all the industry groups experienced some gains in income in the first quarter. Oil production is still growing in North Dakota, as the mining industry (which includes oil production) grew by an annualized 8 percent in the first quarter after rising over 7 percent in the fourth quarter of 2013.