The components of personal income in Idaho have changed since 1979 and the three recessions over the next seven years. Wages and business profits accounted for more than two-thirds of personal income in 1979. Today they combine for almost 55 percent.
Filling that void have been government transfer payments, primarily Social Security and Medicare, which rose less than 11 percent to more than 18 percent over the past 35 years.
Investment earnings have remained relatively constant at around 20 percent.
Idaho has not escaped the persistent shift from goods production to service sector employment that has dogged the national economy for over 30 years. But Idaho has maintained a larger share of its economy in goods production through the 1990s and up to the Great Recession than most other states.
And even with the significant recession loss – primarily in manufacturing and construction – Idaho still has a greater share of its economy in goods production than the nation overall – a distinction the state has had since the mid-1980s.
Production jobs are important because they average about $10,000 a year more in wages than service jobs.
As measured by the percentage of personal income earned, goods production peaked in the United States during World War II when it accounted for over half of the income earnings generated by private businesses. Idaho also peaked then at just under 50 percent in 1942. Continue reading
Personal income is the total of wages, business profits, investment earnings and transfer payments like Social Security and pensions, and in Idaho that total jumped 3.9 percent from 2011 to 2012.
Per capita personal income – that total divided equally among every man, woman and child – was $34,481 in 2012 in Idaho – 79 percent of the national average of $43,735. Idaho’s per capita income has been steadily declining in relation to national per capita income over the past decade, dropping from 83 percent in 2002 when it ranked 40th among the 50 states to 49th among the states in 2012.
During the same period, personal income and per capita income increased for all five northern Idaho counties. The largest increases were in Benewah and Shoshone counties, where there was a significant increase in wages and salaries. Compensation and bonuses from the mining industry was most likely the source in Shoshone County, and earnings in local government probably explains the growth in Benewah. Continue reading