Monthly Archives: August 2014

August Economic Activity Around Idaho

Northern Idaho
North Central Idaho
Southwestern Idaho
South Central Idaho
Southeastern & Eastern Idaho


  • An $88,000 state Agriculture Department grant will allow the Idaho Wine Commission to  expand its marketing and outreach efforts in the coming year. The commission will provide $40,000 in matching funds toward the goal of increasing demand for Idaho wine and improving in-state market share while exposing consumers in other states to Idaho wine. Nearly 180,000 gallons of Idaho wine were sold in the state in 2013. The commission wants to reach 200,000 gallons in 2015 by overcoming a perception that Idaho makes sub-par wine. The commission will develop creative advertising for specific outlets and a public relations campaign for the state’s two pending American Viticultural Area designations.
  • Liquor licenses issued by the state for $750 were resold for more than $300,000 in just two years. State law grants each municipality two liquor licenses or one license for every 1,500 residents, whichever is greater. Some Idaho business owners say they believe state laws limiting the number of liquor licenses stunt local economic growth and drive up the price for existing licenses to exorbitant levels. Idaho Falls businessman Eric Isom says the lack of licenses deters national restaurant chains. Senate Majority Leader Bart Davis says while the current regulation causes problems, there is not enough support to change the law.
  • The Idaho Department of Transportation temporarily suspended bidding for future road projects in mid-May in anticipation of a possible disruption in federal funding but Congress approved and President Obama signed a stop-gap $10.8 billion injection of cash into the Highway Trust Fund, which finances 55 percent of Idaho’s $571.4 million annual roads budget. Congress has until next May to agree on a longer-term solution for highway funding.

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Boise Area Call Center, Semiconductor Job Growth Contrasts

The recession and Idaho’s continuing recovery have underscored a significant structural shift in the economy of the five-county Boise metropolitan area. Jobs at call centers and in computer chip manufacturing have moved in opposite directions.

Behind health care which has been steadily growing as the state population ages, call centers posted the second largest job gain of all subsectors from 2007 through 2013, while chip production posted the largest decline.

Employment and wages in each industry beginning in 1991 are tracked through two different recessions, using shift-share analysis from 2001 to 2013 to help explain the divergent employment trends.


CC_chip jobs graph

Employment in semiconductor manufacturing grew steadily through the dot-com boom in the 1990s, adding 8,073 jobs between 1991 and 2001, but this trend reversed following the 2001 recession. Despite Idaho being one of the few states to escape that recession with no overall job losses, the semiconductor industry lost 2,387 jobs between 2001 and 2003 before experiencing a recovery that generated 827 jobs through 2006. The second recession, which began in December 2007, claimed 4,470 jobs between 2007 and 2010 – half the gains of the 1990s. Since then, the 2010 the recovery has been slow – with an increase of 855 jobs. Even with a modest gain, the industry lost more jobs from 2007 through 2013 than any other sector in the metro area, which includes Ada, Boise, Canyon, Gem and Owyhee counties.

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Southeastern Idaho Job Recovery – Gains, Losses Vary by County, Industry

jobs in SE idaho

Unemployment rates in Idaho and southeastern Idaho are far lower than four years ago. In June the unemployment rate in the seven-county region was 4.2 percent. In 2010 the annual unemployment rate stood at 7.4 percent.

Despite the substantial drop, the total number of jobs in the region has yet to recover to prerecession levels. According to estimates from Economic Modeling Systems International, there were 62,373 jobs in southeast Idaho in 2007. In 2013 there were 58,600, a decline of about 6 percent.

Some counties in the region saw increases. Bingham County gained 469 jobs, rising to 15,213 in 2013. Likewise Bear Lake County’s employment grew by 63 jobs from 1,634 jobs to 1,697. Caribou County grew by 99 jobs from 3,215 jobs in 2007 to 3,314. Oneida County posted a modest gain of 13 jobs to 1,118 and Power County also saw a limited increase of 45 jobs to 3,252.

Others did not. In Bannock County – the number of jobs fell by 4,214 from 35,161 jobs in 2007 to 30,947 jobs in 2013, a decline of 12 percent. Franklin County also experienced a 7.5 percent job loss of 248 jobs from 3,308 to 3,060.

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Idaho’s Over-55 Population on the Rise

Idaho’s population remains one of the youngest states in the nation, but continues to age faster than most others, new U.S. Census Bureau estimates show. Even the nation’s youngest county, Madison in eastern Idaho, aged slightly faster than eight other Idaho counties.

The median age statewide was 35.5 years in 2013, more than two years younger than the national median age. Just four states – North Dakota, Texas, Alaska and Utah – and the District of Columbia were younger.

However, since 2010, Idaho’s median age has increased nearly a full year – from 34.6 years. Only Maine, New Hampshire and Utah saw larger increases.

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Treating Mental Illness Takes Resources

Mental illness is a major public health concern. One in six Idahoans has been diagnosed with a mental health disorder.

The National Survey on Drug Use and Health conducted by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration[1] estimates 4.7 percent of Idahoans over age 17 – more than 53,000 – have a serious mental illness, a disorder that causes substantial functional impairment and urgently requires treatment.

The national average is 4 percent. Idaho ranks 10th in the highest share of adults with a serious mental illness based on annual averages from the 2011 and 2012 national surveys. New Jersey had the lowest rate of serious mental illness at 3.1 percent, and West Virginia was highest at 5.5 percent.

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Starting Your First Job: Understanding Wages

Know About Wages

“How much does this job pay?”

firstjobAlthough you hold back the urge to blurt this question out during an interview, it is top of  mind as you scan the employment ads, consider a career change or prepare for the first leap from school to work.

There are two main types of compensation, or “earnings,” employees receive for their skills, efforts, production and time – wages and benefits.

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