Monthly Archives: October 2015

Small Businesses Play Big Role in Idaho’s Economy

Small businesses are an essential component of the “American Dream” and are often viewed as the backbone of the national economy. Defined as establishments with fewer than 20 employees, Idaho’s small businesses make up the majority of the state’s private employers and support a significant number of jobs statewide. While the success of smaller employers is often cyclical with the business cycle, small businesses have played a significant role in the current economic expansion and will continue to play a critical role in driving the state’s economy forward.

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Idaho’s Income More Equally Distributed than Most States

Income inequality has become an increasingly important issue for many Americans. It is no secret that both wealth and income in the United States are much more lopsided toward the highest earners than in other major developed economies. While methods of measuring income inequality vary, it is clear that the highest earners in the United States hold a disproportionate amount of the nation’s wealth and income.

The implications of income inequality – and potential political responses to it – represent their own enormous issue that are beyond the scope this article, but the underlying statistics and trends about income inequality can still offer insight into why and how it occurs. Important economic context for Idaho can also be gained by comparing Idaho’s inequality to other states.

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Millennials Bring Different Expectations to Work

Millennials began to enter the workforce in 2006, just a year before the last recession began to bite into the economy. Nine years later, during the first quarter of this year, millennials have surpassed the baby boomers – people born approximately between 1946 and 1964 – as the largest generation in the workforce.

Millennials – individuals born approximately between 1982 and 2004 – bring with them a different outlook and view of the workplace than previous generations. Due to their size, and the uniqueness they bring, it helps for employers to understand some key differences in this group. In general, they 1.) place a greater emphasis on work-life balance; 2.)  focus on the community in which they live to the degree that it takes precedence over job considerations and 3.) desire to work for companies motivated by more than just baseline profit.

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EL Depto. de Labor Va a Lanzar una Aplicación Rediseñada para Reclamantes de Desempleo

El Departamento de Labor de Idaho va a lanzar un nuevo portal (sistema) para el reclamante el Jueves, 12 de Nov.  El portal para el Reclamante es una nueva, segura aplicación en línea que los reclamantes usan para aplicar para beneficios de seguro de desempleo, archivar reportes continuos semanales, y ver información del reclamo.

¿Qué es el nuevo portal para el reclamante?

Es una aplicación basada en la web, fácil de usar, en donde los reclamantes administran sus cuentas de beneficios de desempleo. La aplicación renovada ofrece nuevas características para permitir a los reclamantes que tengan acceso a la información sobre su reclamo de desempleo y reportes continuos semanales (ahora se llaman certificaciones) en línea.

¿Porque estamos cambiando? ¿Sera este un mejor sistema?

Nuestro sistema actual esta anticuado y fragmentado. Renovar o modificar el programa era difícil y costoso.  La nueva aplicación del portal para el reclamante está diseñada en una plataforma que se puede modificar eficientemente. 

¿Si yo soy un reclamante actual, tengo que volver a registrarme cuando el nuevo sistema esté disponible y funcionando?

 Si. Cuando usted usa el sistema por primera vez, usted se registrara con su correo electrónico y una nueva clave. Usted ya no usara su número de seguro social y clava para tener acceso a nuestro sistema. 

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Measuring Quality of Life? There’s An App for That.

Screen Shot 2015-10-09 at 11.11.17 AMQuality of life plays a significant role in an job candidate’s decision whether or not to relocate to a new community. At this year’s Idaho Housing and Economic Development Conference, economist Rebecca Ryan developed and shared a free Quality of Life Index local officials can use to take a pulse on the quality of life in their communities and see how they stack up with the competition. Starting with an Excel spreadsheet, planners can look up specific metrics for their community in a worksheet for each of the seven indexes: Vitality, Earning, Learning, Social Capital, After Hours, Cost of Lifestyle and Around Town. After entering their community’s scores in each index and comparing them with similar communities, the scores can be imported into a Handprint Creator which creates a visual way to see how each community rates in each index compared to similar communities. There’s even a 30-minute webinar to help get you started. Creative Common License

Employers: Changes in Wages, Working Conditions for Range Livestock Herders

New rules surrounding job conditions for H-2A workers who herd sheep, goats and other livestock mean employers must pay a wage that equals or exceeds the highest of a monthly pay rate, a collective bargaining agreement wage, or an applicable minimum wage set by court or law.

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the old requirements — adopted in 2010 — do not readily apply to unique occupations that place workers in remote locations where they are on call 24 hours per day, seven days a week. The scarcity of U.S. workers employed in the field have also made setting an appropriate minimum wage difficult, resulting in what the federal agency refers to as “wage stagnation for nearly 20 years.”

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#WorkingSocial for Job Seekers: Know Your Rights

From National Labor Relations Rulings to the First Amendment. Private and non-profit employees are protected by the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) which governs employee social media use in the workplace.

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Data Mining Tools You Can Use

Idaho Occupational Employment and Wages Survey – 2014

Screen Shot 2015-10-09 at 11.17.46 AMPaying a competitive wage is a critical factor for employee retention. Wages for more than 750 Idaho occupations can now be found on the Labor Market Information website at: The data is gathered through a survey of Idaho businesses which collects the number of employees by occupation and pay range. Only wage and salary-type compensation data are reported. Fringe benefits, overtime, bonuses, incentive pay and other non-wage earnings are not included.

BEA Prototype Features State GDP Figures by Quarter

The U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis is now releasing state gross domestic product figures by quarter. The new data set is designed to provide a fuller description of the accelerations, decelerations and turning points in the economy at the state level. Released as a prototype, the new data also includes key information about the impact of industry composition differences across the states. Adjusted for inflation, real gross domestic product measures the market value of goods and services produced within the state and is generally considered a measure of economic activity. For more information, visit the news release section of the BEA website.

A National Living Wage Calculator

MIT professor Amy Glasmeier’s “The Living Wage Calculator” shows the hourly rate someone needs to earn in every Idaho county as well as the country. Glasmeier used the data to create a map which shows the difference between the minimum wage and the amount of money necessary to meet a minimum standard of living around the U.S. The darker red areas indicate a large gap; the orange areas are a smaller gap.

Estimates for the living wage – defined as the amount needed to cover food, child care, insurance, health care, housing, transportation and taxes – are gleaned from official sources, including the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Bureau of Labor Statistics, divided over a work-year of 2,080 hours. – From the Washington Post

Idaho Labor Force, Employment and Unemployment – 2014

Annual labor force, employment and unemployment for Idaho and its substate areas can now be found for 2014 in the Geographic Profile of Employment and Unemployment, available on the Bureau of Labor Statistics website at The profile is generated by data from the Current Population Survey (CPS) and the Local Area Unemployment Statistics (LAUS) program, which is administered for Idaho by the state Department of Labor.

Labor to Launch Redesigned Application for Unemployment Claimants

The Idaho Department of Labor is launching a new claimant portal on Thursday, Nov. 12. The claimant portal is a new, secure online application that claimants use to file for unemployment insurance benefits, file weekly continued claim reports, and view claim information.  

Q. What is the new claimant portal?

A. It is a user-friendly Web-based application where claimants manage their unemployment benefits accounts. The updated application offers new features to allow claimants to access information about their unemployment claim and weekly continued claims (now called certifications) online.

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