Monthly Archives: May 2014

May Economic Activity

Idaho department of labor county developments


Benewah, Bonner, Boundary, Kootenai & Shoshone counties

Regional Developments
  • A consortium of Spokane health care providers is planning a $15 million, 40,000-square-foot primary-care clinic in the city’s University District to serve as a training ground for new physicians and other emerging medical professionals. Residents will begin training this year. The consortium includes Washington State University, Providence Health Care and the Empire Health Foundation. The consortium has secured $900,000 from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Health Resources and Services Administration for six new medical residencies in Spokane. Annual funding is expected to ramp up over the next three years to $2.7 million for 18 new residencies.
  • Red Lion Hotels Corp. continues to lose money, reporting a first-quarter net loss of $3.5 million compared with a loss of $3.1 million a year earlier.
  • At least three sizable apartment complexes valued at $42 million are planned for the Spokane and Coeur d’Alene areas, which are expected to see more apartment projects in the coming year. Analysts see demand driven by the number of baby boomers moving into more multifamily situations and out of single-family homes.
    Multifamily projects include:

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Idaho Job, Wage Recovery is Slow, Steady

Idaho’s job recovery began showing signs of life in late 2011 and picked up in 2013 when year-over-year monthly growth rates exceeded 2 percent, according to the Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages. In April 2013 Idaho had the third highest year-over-year job growth at 3.1 percent and the fourth highest in May at 3.1 percent.

Through the 12 months that ended in September 2013, Idaho recovered 21,000 of the 56,000 jobs it lost to the recession. While that recovery rate was 40th among the states, it underscored the slow job growth the state experienced during the first several years following the recession. Continue reading

Internet Sales Slow Retail Recovery

In 2013 retail sales in the United States rose to $4.53 trillion, an increase of 16 percent from the prior year. According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, retail sales made up 27 percent of the nation’s gross domestic product in 2013, up from 26.8 percent in 2012.

That kind of activity as the economic recovery continues would presumably lead to an increase in retail jobs, but unemployment among Idaho retail workers is much higher than the 5.2 percent jobless rate for the overall economy in March.

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Idaho Forest Group: Using Workforce Training Funds to Help Employees Grow

After the recession forced Idaho Forest Group to curtail operations and layoff workers, the company received $378,400 in Idaho Workforce Development Training Funds to recover 126 of skilled workers lost during the downturn, at an average wage of $13.68 per hour. Idaho Forest Group

Idaho Forest Group employees received training in safety, quality monitoring, time management, work organization, teamwork, communications, problem solving and lean manufacturing and processes.

“Although some are industry-specific, all of these skills are valued by the majority of employers,” said Beti Becker, vice president of human resources for Idaho Forest Group. “Some employees are novices with little experience. These skills are a foundation to build on for their careers.”

Today, newly hired entry level employees at Idaho Forest Group advance from $12 to $14 within 90 days, and from there, continue to advance to an average wage of $18. Employees who pursue additional skills such as industrial mechanics and electricians can earn $25 to $32 per hour.

“Although the economy has recovered, state workforce training funds allowed for industry specific training in technical, electrical, mechanical and industrial equipment operation that would not have otherwise been feasible due to costs,” Becker said. “It also allowed us to train a broader segment of our workforce in the principles of lean manufacturing.”


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Searching Early Increases Summer Job Options

The time to start planning for a summer job is now, and well before school is out for the summer. Employers typically hire before their busy season starts, just like a football player joins the team and practices before the games. Follow these tips and make sure your search is well underway:

  • Where’s your career plan?  A solid career plan outlines your strategy for professional success and demonstrates to a prospective employer that you know how to think ahead. If you don’t have a career plan, this summer is a good time to get one done. Learn more by logging on as a GUEST at
  • Get your job search materials together.  Visit the Job Search section of the Department of Labor’s Idaho Career Information System — CIS — for information about staying organized, completing applications and résumés, and preparing for job interviews.
  • Write a résumé outlining your work experience, skills and strengths. Are you involved in sports, clubs, volunteering? While you may not have a lot (or any) work experience, employers look for applicants who participate in other activities besides school. Sometimes these extra activities can show some of your positive traits and how they will be put to use in a work setting.Teen summer job
  • Register with IdahoWorks as a way to search for jobs. Check out your local newspaper’s online offerings. Visit your he nearest Idaho Department of Labor  local office and ask a workforce consultant for help with making sure the sites you search are valid and the best ones to use for finding the job you want.
  • Tell everyone you know you are looking for a summer job. Ask your coaches, parents’ friends, teachers, counselors –anyone who may know of other places to look and ask them to keep you in mind for a summer job. You never know where your next job is coming from. Networking his is a skill you will use your entire life so start now!

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Idaho Welder Wages Lag U.S., Neighboring States

A lack of welders in Idaho could have more to do with what they are being paid in surrounding states according to a cross-state comparison of wages.

Welding employment varies by state and over time. Nationally, the number of welders has been fairly stable since 1998 with the exception of 2008 when the previous expansion swelled payrolls almost 11 percent before they declined back to 352,000 in 2013.

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Retail Sales Move From Big Ticket Items to Gasoline, Online Sales

Idaho was not immune from the national recession that took a bite out of retail sales. While retail has been recovering since 2010, sales and employment remain below prerecession levels despite population growth, and the outlook remains mixed.

Retail fell and now is rising: Retail activity, based on sales subject to Idaho sales tax and adjusted to 2013 dollars, fell 11.1 percent from $23.8 billion in 2007 to $18 billion in 2010. Since then sales have been increasing, but at $21.2 billion in 2013, remained below the prerecession peak.

Retail chart 1

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