BOISE – Idaho’s per-capita personal income has jumped from 49th in the nation to 47th, a change from 2012-13 that state officials say is a real, inflation-adjusted sign that the state’s economy is improving.
That year-to-year growth in income topped the nation, though admittedly the state is still near the bottom of the list.
“This is one of the first signs, at least in 2013, that Idahoans really were better off,” said Bob Uhlenkott, chief research officer for the Idaho Department of Labor.
Washington saw a 0.1 percent increase in real per-capita personal income from 2012-13, matching the national average. But Washington consistently ranks in the top half of states, according to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis.
Idaho’s inflation-adjusted per-capita income jumped from $35,476 in 2012 to $36,340 in 2013, a 2.4 percent increase.
“That’s my favorite statistic on economic well-being – my No. 1 metric I always use is real per capita personal income, because it adjusts for population growth, but it also adjusts for inflation,” Uhlenkott said.
The gains came in part from boosts in the state’s construction industry, which grew 7.3 percent in 2013, more than twice the rate of Idaho’s overall economic growth rate of 3.6 percent.
The news follows a July 2 report that showed Idaho’s total personal income dipped slightly in the first quarter of 2015, after four consecutive quarters of growth. But Uhlenkott said the 2013 figures are actually more significant, because they’re adjusted both to reflect inflation and population growth.
“That slight dip in the first quarter is not unusual,” he said. He added that the decrease could be related to seasonal variations, or could even be revised. “It’s almost like seasonality has flattened out a little bit,” he said, “but nothing to really suggest yet that we’re seeing a slowdown.”
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