First-quarter personal income rises in N.H.

In the first quarter of 2012, total personal income in New Hampshire grew to $61.4 billion, up $535 million from the previous quarter and the state’s largest quarterly gain since the second quarter of 2011.But during the same quarter, total personal income in the state’s real estate sector saw the biggest percentage drop in the entire country.New Hampshire’s 0.88 percent personal income growth in the first quarter was slightly better than the national gain of 0.8 percent, according to estimates released Wednesday by the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis.Personal income, which the bureau defines as the income derived by all people from all sources, has increased in New Hampshire in every quarter since third quarter 2009.The Granite State’s gains in the first quarter of 2012 were bigger than those in the third and fourth quarters of 2011, when personal income grew by 0.06 percent and 0.82 percent respectively, but came up shy of the gains seen in the first and second quarters of 2011, when personal income increased by 2.3 percent and 1.3 percent, respectively.Nationally, personal income rose in the first quarter in 47 of the 50 states, falling only in Kansas and Mississippi, and remaining unchanged in Oklahoma.North Dakota’s 2.3 percent growth was the largest quarterly gain in the country, while Mississippi fared the worst with a decline of 0.3 percent.Nationally, first-quarter personal income declined in eight industries, with the largest percentage decline, 6.4 percent, and largest dollar decline, $10.4 billion, in the real estate industry.While personal income in real estate declined in every state in the first quarter, New Hampshire had the largest percentage drop in real estate earnings in the nation, falling by 22.5 percent, or $181 million.Personal income in the information industry also dropped in New Hampshire , though not by nearly as large an amount, falling by 2.4 percent, or $29 million.New Hampshire industries that saw the biggest quarterly personal income gains by percentage were: farming, which grew 31.2 percent, or $6 million; construction, 2.7 percent or $67 million; military, 4.5 percent or $12 million; accommodation and food services, 2.5 percent or $34 million; and company management, 2.4 percent or $19 million.Inflation, as measured by the national price index for personal consumption expenditures, increased to 0.6 percent in the first quarter of 2012 from 0.3 percent in the fourth quarter of 2011. – KATHLEEN CALLAHAN/NEW HAMPSHIRE BUSINESS REVIEW

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