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Economy
As it is in many U.S. states, income in Idaho is on an upward trend. Idaho lost ground in per capita personal income from 2009-2011 as it recovered from the Great Recession. But what’s also growing is the gap between personal income in Idaho and in the national as a whole.Data from the Bureau of Economic Analysis show Idahoans earned less in 2012 than residents of almost every other state in the country.A closer look at hourly wages reveals half of Idaho’s workforce earned $14.58 an hour or less in 2012. The hourly wage in Idaho, on average, is $18.48.Idaho also had a larger share of hourly workers earning minimum wage in 2012 than ever before. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates 31,000 Idahoans made $7.25 an hour or less in 2012. That’s a 63 percent increase from 2011.

Data: Personal Income Growth Slows In Idaho

personal income map
Bureau of Economic Analysis

Personal income growth slowed between 2011 and 2012 across Idaho's metro areas. That’s according to data released Thursday by the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA).

On average, incomes grew by 4.2 percent across the nation’s metro areas. None of Idaho’s metro areas met or exceeded that average.

Personal income in the Boise metro area marked the largest growth among Idaho’s metros at 4 percent. On a per capita basis, personal income in the Boise metro area grew just 2.4 percent from 2011 to 2012.

Eastern Idaho metro areas saw the smallest growth in personal income. The Idaho Falls area measured 2.6 percent growth, and the Pocatello area measured 1.8 percent.

Idaho Labor Department economist Andrew Townsend says experts have had a hard time grasping why incomes aren't rising at a rate they'd expect to see after a recession. “We really would have expected to have a higher increase in 2012," says Townsend. "But with keeping with the national average, that is the flavor of this recovery – just muted, not real exciting growth."

Thursday’s BEA data release also includes revised personal income figures for 2001-2012. In those revisions, Idaho’s per capita personal income was slightly higher than previous estimates. The gap between the national average and Idaho’s average narrowed in 2012 and 2011, but it widened in 2010 and 2009.

Under the BEA's revised data, Idahoans earned 78.8 percent of the average U.S. income in 2012.

per capita personal income
Credit Data: Bureau of Economic Analysis | Chart: Emilie Ritter Saunders
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