Nevadans get poorer

Nevada suffered the nation’s highest loss in personal income, according to new annual figures from the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis.

“State personal income declined an average 1.7 percent in 2009 … The annual percentage change in state personal income ranged from [minus] -4.8 percent in Nevada to 2.1 percent in West Virginia (one of six states with a personal income gain in 2009). Inflation, as measured by the national price index for personal consumption expenditures, fell to 0.2 percent in 2009 down from 3.3 percent in 2008,” said a statement accompanying the report.

“In the states with the largest personal income declines in 2009, the industries with the largest earnings losses typically reflected the states’ distinctive economies: Nevada’s 4.8 percent personal income decline, the second largest decline among states since 1969, is mostly accounted for by construction and the accommodations industry (which includes casino hotels),” it said.

Brian Walsh of the National Republican Senate Committee responded to reports of the figures by seeking to blame it on U.S. Sen. Harry Reid. He sent a one-line message to Nevada reporters: “Meanwhile Harry Reid lives at the Ritz-Carlton in Washington.”

Walsh neglected to note that the plunge in personal incomes also occurred during the tenure of GOP Gov. Jim Gibbons.