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Recession takes a toll on incomes in Hawaii

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The recession’s impact on personal income varied across the state with residents on Oahu faring the best and those on Maui taking the biggest hit, according to a report released yesterday.

Per capita personal income on Oahu fell to $45,496 in 2009, a 0.3 percent decline from 2008, according to the report from the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis. That compared with a 3.3 percent drop to $36,585 in Maui County during the same period, according to the report. Residents in Kauai County saw their personal income fall 1.9 percent to $35,560, while in Hawaii County personal income fell 1.5 percent to $32,023.

Personal income is a broad measure of income from sources including wages and salaries, employer-provided health insurance, dividends, interest income and Social Security benefits.

Hawaii fared better than the nation as a whole in 2009 with statewide personal income falling by 0.8 percent to $42,152. That compared with a 2.6 percent decline in per capita personal income nationwide to $39,635 in 2009. In 2008 Hawaii per capita personal income rose 3.2 percent compared with a 3.1 percent gain nationally.

Personal income across the country in 2009 ranged from a low of $20,509 in Hidalgo County, Texas, to a high of $105,554 in New York County, which covers Manhattan.

The BEA releases annual county-by-county personal income data on a lagging basis 13 months after the end of year for which it is recorded. The agency is more current with state personal income data, which have already been released for 2010. Personal income in Hawaii rose 2.2 percent in 2010, compared with a 3 percent gain nationally, the BEA reported in March.

The BEA personal income numbers do not take inflation into account. The state Department of Business and Economic Development estimated that after adjusting for inflation personal income in Hawaii rose just 0.3 percent in 2010. DBEDT is forecasting personal income to rise by 3.2 percent next year, or by 1 percent when inflation is taken into account.

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