Monthly Archives: February 2015

A Slowing Global Economy and The Great Recession Continue to Impact Idaho’s Economy

Recessions are natural in any economy and are commonly defined as two or more successive quarters of negative economic growth. Since the end of WWII, the United States has experienced 10 recessions – each with its own unique impact.

And in December 2007, the U.S. entered a recession unlike any other.

The Great Recession

After six consecutive years of significant economic growth – largely spurred by a hyper-inflated housing market – the U.S. economy crashed into an 18-month recession. Worthy of its name, the Great Recession was the worst U.S. financial crisis since World War II. While the foibles of those who played the housing market are well documented, what was it that made the Great Recession so bad?

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Future Workforce to Rely on Millennials

Millennials – people born between 1980 and the late-1990s – are the largest generation in the U.S. population and critical to economic success of the nation and Idaho. Today, there are almost 73 million millennials in the U.S. and over 365,000 in Idaho, where they are growing faster than the rest of the nation. This particular demographic also represents the workforce of the future.

Employers often characterize millennials as lacking soft skills, entitled, unmotivated and having a tendency to “job-hop.” While there is undoubtedly a need for this cohort to meet an employer’s expectation for soft skills, it is also worth taking a deeper look at the root cause of these stereotypes and identify any underlying circumstances that might influence the ability of millennials to succeed in today’s job market.

Idaho millennials are more likely to have a job, but on average, earn about $3,000 less than their national counterparts and are more likely to live in poverty. While education rates have increased in Idaho and nationally since 1980, Idaho millennials are also significantly less likely to hold a bachelor’s degree or higher, which could explain the below-average wages they earn compared to their counterparts.

Nationally millennials are living at home with a parent and the rate of those living alone has remained stable and low. Compared to the US, Idaho millennials are less likely to live alone or with a parent and much more likely to be married. They are also slightly more likely to be veterans and significantly less likely to be minorities.

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Despite Losses, Idaho Manufacturing Sees Improvements

In recent years, the manufacturing industry in the United States has been a skeleton of what it once was. As some manufacturers outsourced work to foreign countries in pursuit of cost savings, others simply struggled to stay alive, unable to keep up with increasing competition in an ever-expanding global economy.

From 2000 to 2010, manufacturing posted net job losses each year. Manufacturing jobs decreased 30 percent, losing more than 5 million jobs over the decade. Regardless of the cause, once proud cities like Detroit are left desolate by the relative death of the industry.

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Hot Jobs Different Mix in South Central Idaho

Idaho’s hottest jobs over the next decade – identified by the Idaho Department of Labor’s 2012-2022 Long-Term Occupational Projections – continue to place health care occupations at the top even in the south central region, but the other top occupations differ, reflecting the unique qualities of the region’s economy and labor pool.

Hot jobs are identified as those greatest in number, with the strongest growth rate and the highest wage. Continue reading

Idaho Economy Settling Into Sustainable Growth Pattern

The following is the text of the Idaho Department of Labor presentation to the Idaho Legislature Economic Outlook and Revenue Assessment Committee on Jan. 8, 2015.

After a slow start, Idaho’s economic recovery from the worst recession since World War II picked up significantly in late 2012. Job creation exceeded the national rate by more than a full percentage point during spring 2013.

The unemployment rate has been steadily falling from the recession high 8.8 percent in late 2010 to 3.9 percent in November. Unemployment is now approaching the record lows before the recession although these rates are typically revised in March after additional data gathered over the past year are assessed.

unemployment ratesRecognizing that adjustments will be made to the employment data for the past year, based on current data the department estimates the average annual unemployment rate for FY2015 at 4.1 percent, down from 5.5 percent the previous fiscal year. Barring unexpected economic events the following 12 months, the rate should continue falling to average 3.6 percent for Fiscal Year 2016.

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North Central Idaho: 2014 in Review

North central Idaho continued its economic recovery in 2014. Unemployment rates fell to relatively low levels, and nonfarm payroll employment reached an estimated 45,100, but jobs were still 3.5 percent – about 1,280 jobs – lower than in 2007.

Unemployment Rates by County Continue reading