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Money.JPGAs it emerged from the worst recession since the Great Depression in 2012, California had the nation's fourth highest growth of personal income, even after adjustment for its high cost of living, according to a new Commerce Department report.

Californians' income increase, 3.4 percent, was more than 50 percent higher than the national increase, ranking fourth behind oil-rich North Dakota's whopping 15.1 percent, and 3.7 percent in Montana and Indiana. While North Dakotans' incomes soared in 2012, neighboring South Dakota was the only state to see an income drop.

Among local metropolitan areas, California's Kings County had the nation's fourth sharpest decline in personal income, 2.3 percent.

For the first time, the Commerce Department adjusted income changes for each state's cost of living, and in that measure, California ranked fifth behind the District of Columbia, Hawaii, New York and New Jersey. Three Bay Area metropolitan regions were included in the nation's six most expensive places to live - a list topped by Honolulu.

PHOTO: What $3.2 million dollars in a stack $20 bills will look like - one of the exhibits on the first floor of the Federal Reserve Bank's San Francisco district headquarters. The Sacramento Bee/Manny Crisostomo.



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