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Hawaii tops U.S. in income growth


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POSTED: Friday, June 19, 2009

Hawaii led the nation in personal income growth during the first quarter of this year, despite wealth continuing to decline overall nationwide.

Personal income growth in the state increased 0.8 percent during the period compared with the fourth quarter of last year, according to estimates released yesterday by the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis.

Hawaii ranked No. 1, followed by Virginia with a 0.3 percent increase in personal income.

Personal income growth fell in 37 states during the period, and for the entire country was down 0.5 percent.

Job losses, lower interest rates and smaller corporate-dividend payments all contributed to the decline in personal income.

The bureau said earnings growth in Hawaii and Virginia was concentrated in the federal civilian and military sectors, and was accounted for by first-quarter pay raises as well as some initial hiring for the 2010 Census.

Total personal income in Hawaii in the first quarter was $52.6 million compared with $51.6 million in the first quarter of 2008.

Alaska had the largest decrease, 3.2 percent, reflecting a return to normal levels of payments to residents from the Alaska Permanent Fund after a special $2,000 per person payment to residents in 2008.

MEASURING GROWTH

U.S. personal income fell 0.5 percent nationwide in the first quarter, but Hawaii bucked the trend:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   
TOP 5
1. Hawaii +0.8%
2. Virginia +0.3%
3. N. Carolina +0.2%
4. S. Carolina +0.2%
5. Mississippi +0.2%
BOTTOM 5
50. Alaska -3.2%
49. N. Dakota -2.6%
48. Missouri -1.7%
47. Wyoming -1.6%
46. Iowa -1.2%

Source: Bureau of Economic Analysis, U.S. Department of Commerce