Total personal income in Utah in 1988 is expected to increase between 41/2 to 5 percent, higher than the 31/2 percent increase in 1987, according to the First Security Bank quarterly newsletter.

Dr. Kelly K. Matthews, First Security economist who produces the newsletter, said individual hourly wage rates this year in Utah are expected to increase 21/2 percent compared to less than 2 percent last year."Utah's labor market in the second quarter is strengthening," Matthews said. In March, statewide nonagricultural employment was 641,700, an increase of 9,100 jobs or 1.4 percent above last year.

"Initial unemployment claims dropped 16 percent in the first quarter, the newsletter said, helping reduce the state's jobless rate to 5.5 percent in February and March. Jobs in the service industry are the primary reason for the growth, but the manufacturing sector also is growing.

Matthews said Utah's construction industry was sluggish in the first quarter and probably will remain below the level of a year ago during the summer. "March construction employment was down 4,200 jobs from last year and single-family building permits for January and February totaled 569, down 29 percent," the newsletter said.

Consumer loan demands spurted in March, providing an early indication of an improved retail sales climate the second quarter. During the month, automobile loan applications at First Security were up significantly over last year.