Here is a roundup of regional economic news compiled by the Idaho Department of Labor in February:
Benewah, Bonner, Boundary, Kootenai & Shoshone counties
- North Idaho College, the Idaho Department of Labor and the three largest wood products manufacturers in northern Idaho have teamed up to develop an NIC Wood Products Manufacturing Center of Excellence. The center will train the next generation of workers in an industry that provides nearly one in four manufacturing jobs in Idaho’s 10 northern counties and has strong potential for growth. The Wood Products Manufacturing Center for Excellence is funded through a $281,000 Idaho Department of Labor grant. Idaho Forest Group, Potlatch Corp. and Stimson Lumber Co. are matching 25 percent of the grant. Beginning in March, the program will enroll 116 participants over two years with the focus on training workers for industrial controls, saw filing and log scaling.
- Northern Idaho faces a shortage of primary care physicians within the next five to seven years, but local medical professionals have a plan to provide them. Idaho doesn’t have its own medical school. It partners with Washington, Wyoming, Alaska and Montana to fund a medical school at the University of Washington in Seattle to educate doctors. Historically, Idaho has funded about 20 positions for Idaho students. Last year, the Legislature expanded that to 25, and many hope it will add five more this year. Kootenai Health in Coeur d’Alene recently created a primary care residency program, which will allow more of those medical school graduates take residency in Idaho. Idaho has the best retention rate in the nation. About 51 percent of resident doctors stay in Idaho to practice.
While many 16-year-olds are thinking about getting their driver’s licenses and passing pre-calculus, one southern Idaho high school student has much larger aspirations. Jared Lott, a junior from Filer, has big dreams of one day becoming a pediatric oncologist.
In addition to his full high school class schedule, Jared is taking college level medical terminology and health occupation classes and works at a local assisted living facility. In the midst of this, he had been fighting a two-year battle with leukemia.
On June 5, 2010, Jared was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia. In and out of hospitals, Jared missed out on a lot of school, but that didn’t stop him. He began teaching himself the subjects he was missing, even enrolling in a dual credit honors English class through the University of Idaho so he could begin to receive college credits.
Community leaders and economic development professionals are typically interested in the types of businesses that should be added to their local economies. Any answer comes against the backdrop of the existing business mix that is the result of a century or more of economic evolution and market forces.
But in some cases industry growth struggles to keep up with population growth.
Madison County was Idaho’s fourth fastest growing county between 2000 and 2012 when its population increased 36 percent – almost 10,000 residents. Much of the growth was spurred by the transition of two-year Rick’s College into four-year Brigham Young University-Idaho. But neighboring Jefferson and Teton counties were also in the top-five fastest growing counties in the state.
A long-range plan called Envision Madison is under way in Madison County to ensure the community remains economically viable while maintaining its quality of life as growth continues. City planners and government leaders – and entrepreneurs looking for the next business idea – are hunting for strategies to facilitate continued natural growth. Fortunately there are a few statistical tools that can aid the process. Continue reading
Why are we are now required to include work search contact details on our weekly continued claim reports?
We have always required job seekers to keep records of their work search contacts. What’s changed is now you can save yourself some time by using our work search log to gather the information and enter it electronically in your weekly continued claim report, allowing us to capture the information in a timelier manner.
Last time I claimed unemployment insurance, I didn’t have to look for work during a seasonal layoff because I planned to go back to work for the same employer. What happened?
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
Finding financial aid for school can be hard work, but don’t be intimidated! Free, reliable help is available.
First, go online to the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) site. Not only is this application required by federal aid programs, a great many other sources of aid, private and public, utilize it for processing requests.
Filling out and submitting this form is free. All you need are your or your parents’ 2013 tax information. Be sure to use the https://fafsa.ed.gov web address. Many sites charge a fee for “professional FAFSA help” but this is often an unnecessary expense and may put your personal financial information at risk.