Credit: Jon Elswick | AP

The personal income of Mainers jumped 5.4 percent in the first quarter of this year. It was the third biggest gain in personal income in the U.S.

The U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis said government transfer payments were the biggest contributor to the increase in personal income. Those were up 18.5 percent from the fourth quarter of last year.

State economist Amanda Rector said that’s due to tax code changes, and also the fact that an unusually large number of Mainers receive Social Security — and they just got a 2.8 percent cost of living increase.

But Rector said an increase in earnings was also a factor.

“So if we look at the industries that were the largest contributors, health care and social assistance was the first,” Rector said. Retail trade was the second-biggest factor in earnings, Rector said, “and then forestry, fishing and related activities was one of the larger contributors to the increase in earnings.”

Rector said the effects of Maine’s Medicaid expansion aren’t yet clear.

In New Hampshire, personal income grew 3.8 percent in the first quarter of the year.

This article appears through a media partnership with Maine Public.