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Economists forecast income growth in region

Construction permits also expected to rise in 2010

Some economists see Washington state workers enjoying an average 4 percent boost in personal income this year.

Idaho workers could see a 2.3 percent gain in income, according to the Arizona State University Blue Chip Economic Survey. The ASU survey, prepared by regional economists and researchers, covers 12 Western states.

The 4 percent gain makes sense as an actual 2 percent hike on top of an average 2 percent inflation effect on wages, said Arun Raha, the state’s chief economist in Olympia.

The income gain in 2010 will follow a lackluster 2009 during which most U.S. workers saw a 1.5 percent drop in personal income, said Lee McPheters, an ASU research economist.

The 2010 Blue Chip Survey said Texas would have the largest personal income gain – 4.2 percent – with California having the smallest bump, only 1.7 percent, said McPheters.

Expectations for the number of permits that will be issued for construction of single-family homes were also surveyed, with Idaho facing a potential 37 percent gain compared with 2009, according to the ASU numbers. Washington will see a 32 percent gain in permits issued, economists predicted.

California would see the largest gain in single-family construction permits – 50 percent above 2009, according to the ASU survey. Among Western states, Nevada would have the lowest gain in permits, at 1.8 percent.