Personal income shrinks 0.2%
A new report on personal income has mixed news for Hawai'i, though the bad news isn't as severe as it is in other states.
Hawai'i's per-capita personal income shrank last year as the state's economy suffered from an economic downturn.
A report issued yesterday by the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis shows the state's personal income per person fell to $42,009 last year, down $68, or 0.2 percent, from 2008. It was the 11th highest income in the nation.
Hawai'i's drop was smaller than the average per capita decline of 2.6 percent nationally last year to $39,138.
There was also good news in terms of aggregate personal income for the state. In contrast to per capita personal income it rose, primarily because there were more people living here compared with 2008.
Hawai'i was one of six states where aggregate personal income rose, increasing 0.4 percent to $54.4 billion. That compared with a 1.7 percent decline nationally.
Personal income includes the total amount of worker pay, rental and investment income and so-called transfer payments.
The bureau said a $1 billion rise in transfer payments to Hawai'i residents helped boost total personal income. Those payments include unemployment benefits, subsidized health care that was available to the jobless last year and social security checks.
The bureau reported the gain in transfer payments offset falling worker pay and investment income.
It said Hawai'i had suffered a $187 million decline in worker pay and a $584 million drop in dividends, interest and rents paid to Hawai'i residents.
During the year, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act provided a lump-sum $250 payment to Social Security recipients.
The stimulus package also included a provision that helped the unemployed with health care costs.
Those who were fired between September 2008 and December 2009 were eligible for COBRA premium subsidies of 65 percent for nine months.