Louisiana’s personal income grew by 3.6 percent in the first quarter of this year, the U.S. Department of Commerce reported Thursday, lagging behind the rate of growth in both the U.S. and Southeast region.

The growth in Louisiana ranked 43rd in the U.S. In all, the state added around $1.8 billion in earnings over the period. 

Washington’s 7.4 percent growth was the best in the country, while Idaho’s 2 percent rate was last. On average, the country's personal income grew at a 4.3 percent clip. 

Louisiana’s health care and social assistance sector provided the biggest gain in earnings over the period, adding $310 million. Manufacturing, construction and finance and insurance also posted notable gains. Meanwhile, management of companies and enterprises fell by $72 million.

In all, the state’s personal income grew to $206.1 billion.

Most Southern states--including Mississippi, at 3.7 percent--outpaced Louisiana’s personal income growth for the quarter. The Bayou State’s 3.6 percent rate was down sharply from the same period in 2017, when personal income grew by 8.1 percent, but was up from the fourth quarter in 2017.

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