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Idaho Personal Income Increases In 2011

Idaho?s personal income grew faster than the nation?s in 2011, said the Idaho Department of Labor on Wednesday.

Despite a comparatively sluggish fourth quarter, personal income in the Gem State jumped more than $2.7 billion to a record $52.8 billion.

The 5.4 percent increase from 2010 was three-tenths of a percentage point higher than the personal income increase nationally and ranked 11th among the states, according to estimates from the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis.

Personal income is the value of all wages, business profits, investment earnings and transfer payments like Social Security, unemployment benefits and pensions.

The increase was driven by significant growth in net earnings, primarily in business profits, said the Labor Department. Wages, including employer contributions to pensions and Social Security, rose 2.5 percent, and business profits were up 15 percent. Idaho?s percentage wage increase ranked 46th among the states ? only Mississippi, Maine, Alabama and New Mexico were lower ? while the rise in business profits ranked third behind Iowa and Nebraska.

Nearly every sector of the Idaho economy posted income increases, led by farming at more than 41 percent. The exceptions were construction, which continued the decline since its peak in 2007, recreation and the federal government.

Idaho?s 2011 growth beyond the national average was built on performance during first three quarters of the year, although over half the annual gain in wages occurred during the last three months of the year. Overall, personal income, on an annualized basis, rose seven-tenths of a percent in the October-December quarter, two-tenths of a point below the national increase to rank midway among the states.

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