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Iowa, South Dakota and North Dakota, helped by record crop production last year, led the way as personal income in the nation rose an average of 4.9 percent, the Commerce Department reported.

Utah's 5.6 percent rise in personal income in 1994 beat the national average, but Utah ended the year ranked 48th lowest of the 50 states in personal income.The Great Lakes states had an outstanding year, helped by a surge in production of cars and other big-ticket durable goods.

Others in the top 12: Michigan, 8.5 percent; Mississippi, 7.4 percent; Minnesota, 7 percent; West Virginia, 6.4 percent; Ohio and Louisiana, 6.3 percent; Wisconsin and Indiana, 6.1 percent; and Missouri, 5.9 percent.

The slowest growing states were Colorado, 3.9 percent; Washington, 3.8 percent; Texas, 3.7 percent; Wyoming, 3.6 percent; Alaska, 3.1 percent; Montana, 2.8 percent; California, 2.7 percent; and Hawaii, 2.4 percent.

The Commerce Department said one measure of inflation tied to gross domestic product rose 2.4 percent last year, the smallest increase since 1966.