The Advocate reports that all eight metro regions in the state saw personal income rise, but Lafayette joined Shreveport, New Orleans and Houma in having an annual income growth rate that exceeds the national average.

Lafayette’s personal income grew 3.4 percent in 2010, beating the national average of 2.9 percent.

Baton Rouge, Lake Charles, Monroe and Alexandria experienced gains that are below the mean growth rates nationwide:

Personal income is defined as all income — including wages, income from property, along with unemployment and Social Security benefits, among other income sources

Shreveport managed to produce the state’s largest growth rate — rising to $15.6 billion in 2010 from $15.0 billion in 2009 — largely from increased economic activity related to the Haynesville Shale natural gas deposit in that part of the state, said Louisiana economist Loren Scott.

He said the natural gas find also helped lift Lafayette’s personal income to $11.3 billion in 2010 from $11.0 billion in 2009.

Also, Acadian Companies, a large ambulance, air medical and safety management company in Lafayette, has been involved with safety-related work on oil rigs and pipelines, Scott noted.

“Even though the people are actually working out of state, there’s so much extra business they’ve had to add a lot of back-office jobs,” he explained.

In March, Louisiana — like other states — stopped collecting employment data, ceding this job to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the federal agency responsible for following employment trends. The changeover was done, in part, to prevent any statistical bias by state agencies and to save money, the BLS reported. State and federal officials have said some inconsistencies could surface during transition months.

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