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Personal income on rise

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    Income from workers in the utilities, commercial fishing and construction sectors contributed to an annualized 1.35 percent gain in personal income in the first quarter of this year from the fourth quarter of last year. Hawaii’s increase, the sixth-largest increase nationally, bodes well for the state’s economic expansion.

Personal income in Hawaii grew at the sixth-fastest rate in the nation through the first quarter of this year, helped by federal stimulus money flowing into the state.

Hawaii residents’ personal income rose by an annualized 1.35 percent during the January-to-March period compared with the fourth quarter of 2009, according to the report released by the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis.


States with biggest increases in personal income in the first quarter of 2010 compared to the fourth quarter of 2009.

1. Mississippi 1.6%
2. Kansas 1.5%
3. Louisiana 1.4%
4. Alaska 1.4%
5. Tennessee 1.4%
6. Hawaii 1.4%
7. Alabama 1.3%
8. Kentucky 1.3%
9. New Mexico 1.3%
10. Idaho 1.3%

Source: Bureau of Economic Analysis


"It’s significant that Hawaii finds itself in the top 20 percent of personal income growth," said Paul Brewbaker, principal of TZ Economics.

"You have to be a little bit careful that the numbers aren’t adjusted for inflation, but being above average in terms of personal income performance is consistent with most employment indicators in Hawaii," he said.

"We tend to have higher inflation than the national average, but these are still great numbers. The quarter-to-quarter change portends a broad pattern of economic recovery."

The personal income figures are not adjusted for inflation.

Transfer receipts, which includes federal stimulus funds and other federal payments to states, accounted for nearly 40 percent of Hawaii’s increase in personal income, the BEA reported.

Federal stimulus funds, the bulk of which were for government and private sector capital improvement projects, created 2,566 jobs in Hawaii during the first three months of the year, according to a separate federal report released last month.

For all of 2010, personal income is projected to grow by 1.9 percent, according to the state Department of Business, Economic Development & Tourism, up from a 0.4 percent increase in 2009.

The military, which benefited from the federal stimulus payments, accounted for a large part (0.37 percentage point) of the 1.35 percent increase in first-quarter personal income. Among private-sector industries, retail trade and construction each contributed 0.13 percentage point to the overall increase in the personal income gain. Professional and technical services added 0.07 percentage point.

Several industries detracted from the increase in personal income growth, including real estate, down 0.05 percentage point; utilities, down 0.01 percentage point, and arts and entertainment, down 0.01 percentage point.

Mississippi led all states in income growth, followed by Kansas, Louisiana, Alaska and Tennessee.


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