Monthly Archives: July 2015

Around Idaho: July Economic Activity

Information provided in this article has been gathered from various sources throughout the state, including professional sources, news releases, weekly and daily newspapers, television and other media.

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

NORTHERN IDAHO – Benewah, Bonner, Boundary, Kootenai & Shoshone counties

Kootenai County

  • North Idaho College opened its new Aerospace Center of Excellence on June 30. The center will offer training in aerospace component fabrication and testing for workers wishing to join northern Idaho’s growing aerospace manufacturing industry.
  • A dangerous fire season has overworked firefighting services. The Panhandle National Forest Service has already exceeded its average annual fire retardant use and is currently averaging six forest fires per day. Several fires have encroached on recreational areas and lakefronts, impeding are tourism.
  • Tourism in Hayden was hampered by a health advisory concerning a toxic algae bloom on Hayden Lake. People were advised by the Panhandle Health District not to swim in the lake until the problem is resolved.
  • The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld an injunction that would shut down poker rooms in the Coeur d’Alene Casino. The Coeur d’Alene tribe is fighting the injunction, arguing that poker is not an illegal form of gambling because it is a contest of skill.
  • The Coeur d’Alene City Council voted to vacate a lot for the construction of a new hotel tower for the Coeur d’Alene Resort. The hotel tower will provide an additional 200 rooms, which are designed to help attract larger business conferences.

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Mechanics and Auto Techs in Greater Demand

Idaho students training to become auto mechanics at the Dennis Professional Technical School in Boise, Idaho.

Idaho students training to become auto mechanics at the Dennis Professional Technical School in Boise, Idaho.

The need for automotive service technicians and mechanics in Idaho is expected to grow 14.9 percent from 3,079 workers in 2012 to 3,537 in 2022, according the 2012-2022 Long-Term Occupational Projections issued by the Idaho Department of Labor.

Nationwide, this occupation will grow by 13.6 percent, according to estimates provided by Economic Modeling Systems International, an independent economic forecasting firm.

Multiple factors may contribute to Idaho’s stronger-than-average projected growth in this occupation. One may be related to income. Idaho’s per capita income in 2013 stood at $36,146, nationally the figure was $40,316. The gap in income is likely to cause more Idahoans to drive and buy older vehicles. Older vehicles are generally in need of greater repair and maintenance, so the need for mechanics and automotive technicians increases due to demand.

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South Central Idaho Named Manufacturing Community

South central Idaho was named a manufacturing community by the U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker under the Investing in Manufacturing Communities Partnership Program. The emphasis is on food production, food processing and science.

The criteria encompassed six aspects of manufacturing and required strategies and outcomes to be developed in these areas:

  • workforce and training;
  • advanced research;
  • infrastructure and site development;
  • supply chain support;
  • export promotion;
  • and capital access.

The program stresses mutually beneficial partnerships and participation between the community’s industry, governmental leaders both local and state, and its economic development professionals.

Industry leaders in the food production and food processing arenas will have the opportunity for assistance in navigating the governmental intricacies of exporting product — individuals who are knowledgeable on U.S. policy as well as the country that could receive commodities or products from south central Idaho.

Specific strategies will be released over the coming year to make the huge food production and processing cluster more sustainable, more efficient and more profitable, particularly in the counties of Twin Falls, Jerome, Cassia and Minidoka.

Eleven other areas nationally received the designation in this second round.

Recursos de Seguro De Desempleo para Reclamantes que Hablan Español

Yo hablo Español y no puedo leer Ingles. ¿Cómo yo puedo archivar un reclamo?

Nosotros le ayudaremos archivar su reclamo por teléfono; pero, antes de llamar, junte la siguiente información:

  • Información de su historial de trabajo por los últimos dos años que incluya nombre de empleadores, direcciones, números de teléfono, nombre de supervisores y fechas de empleo.
  • Información de su contacto actual, incluyendo dirección de correo, numero de teléfono y correo electrónico.
  • Información sobre su licencia de manejo o número de ID estatal y autorización de trabajo (mica), si corresponde.

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#WorkingSocial for Idaho Businesses: Using Social Media to Recruit Employees

Social media has become an essential tool for businesses. Using social media can enhance employee recruitment, foster community engagement and even make for a more productive workplace. As an employer or manager, it’s important to know the rules and laws specific to social media use in recruiting and hiring as well as employee rights concerning social media use in the workplace. Here are some things to know before using social media to recruit employees:

Trends & Generational Use of Social Media. Understand how different age groups – the millennials, traditionalists, for example – understand and use social media. Followers are highly influenced by celebrities. Traditionalists are mainly baby boomers. They like sameness. Innovators are everyone’s target audience; they are attracted to differences and the “why” of a brand. The problem with many businesses is they go into social media with the mindset of traditionalists trying to be innovators and it’s obvious and uninteresting. Businesses need to use social media to attract the innovators by expressing the meaning or the “why” of their brand.

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Border Cities Affected by Minimum Wage Differences

Where and how far workers are willing to travel to their jobs depends on many factors. In border cities between states with different minimum wage levels, commuting patterns tell much of the story.side bar for jan's aritcle

For private enterprise, the minimum wage can be a tool to ensure a sufficient local labor pool if it’s higher than the state next door. Living in a border city  provides opportunities for residents to access better paying jobs in a state with a higher minimum wage, while taking advantage of lower living costs in the neighboring state.

Commuting patterns can be analyzed using Census Bureau data. Idaho’s western border sees significant movement between labor markets with Washington and Oregon. Although Montana, Nevada, Wyoming and Utah are contiguous to Idaho, there are no major industry sites on those borders.

In the case of the minimum wage, Idaho and Utah are the only states among the seven with minimum wages at the federal level – $7.25 an hour. The others are among the 29 states with higher minimum wages.

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Job Growth Struggles in Rural Idaho

Idaho’s economic recovery through February 2015 generated 13,000 more jobs than were lost – 27 percent more, while payrolls increased  20 percent – $698 million in goods production and $1.7 billion in services.

Idaho’s recovery from the recession took hold most strongly in the Boise metropolitan area while it took two more years for the four other metro areas to see marked job growth in 2013.

Even rural communities posted job growth early on, but once the momentum shifted to the urban parts of the state in 2013, rural job growth slowed after a summer uptick in 2014.

Using average wages for 2010, Idaho’s job loss in the recession totaled $1.5 billion from goods production and $424 million from services.

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Recession, Recovery in Northern Idaho Recounted

This is the final article written by Alivia Metts as the Department’s northern-based regional economist. She recently moved on to other career pursuits.

Telling the story about the economy through the lens of a regional economist throughout the economic volatility of the past seven to eight years has had its challenges, but it has been far more exciting and rewarding.

I started at the Idaho Department of Labor during the depths of the recession when employment in northern Idaho  dropped significantly. Today, nearly all sectors are firing on all cylinders, wage pressure is starting to ignite and economic activity is rolling.


The recession really started to take hold in 2008 and became persistent and painful for about two years. Layoffs were occurring in nearly every industry and the number of people holding multiple jobs to make ends meet increased substantially. Jobless individuals were filing for unemployment benefits at an astounding rate. The number of new claims filed in 2009 was nearly 44,000 compared with just over 18,000 in 2007.

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Idaho’s Regional Economists are Source for Economic Information

Behind the scenes at the Idaho Department of Labor are six individuals who spend their days converting economic data into employment solutions.

“As regional economists, we take the data produced by the research analysts and tell a story with it,” said Ethan Mansfield, regional economist for southwestern Idaho. “Data is meaningless unless someone is there to communicate it and interpret it, and that’s our job.”

Each region in Idaho has a designated economist who provides a link between those who produce economic data and those who need this data. The regional economists repackage and explain raw data to make it easily understandable, enhancing the community’s economic knowledge.

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Looking for an Internship? Consider Volunteering Instead

Too often when people think of volunteering it’s simply regarded as a nice thing that some people do. One might think, “I just don’t know how to get involved,” or perhaps, “I need to look for summer internship opportunities, not volunteering opportunities right now.” If you are still trying to find summer work experiences or internships, maybe it’s time to re-think what it actually means to volunteer and consider taking advantage of the numerous opportunities available at non-profit organizations.

Volunteering vs. Internships

Why do teachers, parents and businesses encourage and promote students’ finding internships? One word: experience. Internships help students gain a better understanding of what different occupations are really like. While internships are a great way to begin building a resume, volunteering can serve the same purpose. According to the Corporation for National and Community Service, those who volunteer have 27 percent higher odds of finding employment compared with those who don’t. Still not convinced? Consider some of the following reasons for volunteering:

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