The personal income of Americans rose at its slowest rate in almost 20 years during 1982, the Commerce Department said Tuesday. In 1982 total personal income rose 6.4 percent, or about $154 billion - which was below the 11.8 percent gain of $255 billion recorded in 1981.
Wage and salary income alone rose an even more modest 4.4 percent last year. But disposable, or aftertax, income rose a somewhat healthier 7.1 percent because a 10 percent tax reduction on July 1 enabled workers to keep a larger share of their earnings, the department said. It also said that Americans experienced a modest rise in real spending power because the rise in disposable income outpaced inflation by about 2.5 percentage points last year, compared with a 2.3 percentage point spread in 1981.