Personal income growth was up four percent in the first quarter of the year, outpacing the national average. That's according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis.

The governor’s office says the income growth rate was even higher than Texas. Economic Development Secretary Don Pierson says its evidence the state is headed in the right direction.

“Glad to see that personal income is rising across the state, and that we have more people employed than ever before in Louisiana. Good things today, and good things happening in the future.”

The four percent increase means Louisianans personal income grew by more than two-billion-dollars.

The news comes on the heels of an announcement by Coast Professional call center in West Monroe adding 146 jobs. Pierson says good paying jobs will be created through the 750,000-dollar expansion.

“These are a little better than what we would typically see. This is around 36,000 dollars a year, plus benefits, for well trained operators in this area.”

Pierson says the strong performance of the state’s workforce training program, FAST START, is encouraging companies to create jobs that pay better, but require a more skilled worker, like the Coast Professional call center expansion.

“We will help them with recruiting positions into these jobs. We will work with our Louisiana Workforce Commission partners, and for those who need some training, FAST START will come into play.”