Monthly Archives: March 2016

More Idahoans Postponing Retirement

For more than two decades, older Americans have opted to stay in the labor force longer, while younger Americans have reduced their labor force participation. Women are likely to continue working in their 60s. Since the start of the recession in December 2007, the share of older working women has grown while the percentage of every other category of U.S. worker – by gender and age – has declined or remained flat. In 1992, one in 12 American women worked past age 65. Now, around one in seven do. The U.S. Department of Labor projects that number grow to almost one in five by 2024.

Idaho also has seen large increases in labor force participation for senior workers — 62 percent for men and 129 percent for women — while other workers’ participation declined or remained flat.

Chart-1Source: U.S. Census Bureau

In 1992, one in 18 Idaho women worked past age 65. Now, around one in seven do — the same ratio as the nation.

With baby boomers in their 50s and 60s swelling the ranks of older workers and their labor force participation on the rise, Idaho workers 55 and over grew by 161 percent, from 64,300 in December 1995 to 167,500 in December 2015, according to the Current Population Survey, the monthly survey conducted by the Census Bureau to track unemployment in the U.S. Over the same period, Idaho’s labor force 25 to 54 years of age doubled from 145,200 to 296,100.

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Signs Point to Positive Growth in Southeastern Idaho

Recent employment and economic projections indicate southeastern Idaho’s economy may finally be heating up.

For much of the last decade, southeastern Idaho’s economy has struggled to grow. Impacted by the previous recession, covered employment in the region increased less than 2 percent from 2004 to 2014. While the region saw impressive growth leading up to the recession, growing 8 percent from 2004 to 2007, employment in the region began to fall as the housing crisis affected the economy. After peaking in 2007, the region lost jobs the following four years. By 2011, covered employment in southeastern Idaho had fallen by more than 5,000 jobs.

Although the region began adding jobs each year since 2011, the tepid growth has done little to make up for the jobs lost during the recession. By the end of 2014, total covered employment was still 3,500 jobs shy of the region’s pre-recession peak, and total job growth over the decade increased less than 2 percent – well below the statewide growth of 10 percent over the same time.


Wage growth in the region has proven more resilient. The average wage in the region has increased from $26,370 in 2004 to $33,687 by 2014, growing by an annual average of 2.5 percent over the decade. This outpaced the statewide annual growth by a tenth of a percent. It should be noted however, that after accounting for inflation the actual buying power for the average wage earner improved slightly more than 2 percent over the decade.

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Around Idaho: Economic Activity in March 2016

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
Eastern Idaho

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

Kootenai County

  • Summit Cancer Centers, a national cancer-care chain of clinics, announced the opening of its newest clinic in Post Falls. The 11,000 square foot clinic is located on the campus of Northwest Specialty Hospital and will offer local residents access to cutting-edge and personalized oncology. Source: Coeur d’Alene Press
  • Kootenai Medical Center opened a 100,000 square foot expansion on March 15. The new wing includes additional patient rooms, a family birthing center and neonatal care unit. The hospital has already announced an additional phase of expansion, which will expand the emergency department and offer more room to support departments to accommodate an increasing rising number of patient visits. Source: Coeur d’Alene Press

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Educated People Moving to Idaho, Growth Concentrated in Cities

Migration into Idaho is, in some ways, a study of contrasts. While Idaho ranks 16th in the nation for state-to-state migration of people over 25 years old, 99 percent of that migration is into the Boise metro area. In 2014, 3,104 adults moved from another state into Idaho of which 3,066 moved to one of the six counties that encompass Idaho’s Treasure Valley. The only other places in Idaho that saw a positive flow from outside of the state were Coeur d’Alene (Kootenai County) and the Magic Valley, though still low. Because the Lewiston metro area straddles the state line, it was excluded from this analysis which examined only state-to-state and metro-to-state flows.1-Net-I_state-Migration

Source: U.S. Census Bureau, American Community Survey

2-Idaho-Interstate-Gain_LossSource: U.S. Census Bureau, American Community Survey

Most adults moving into Idaho had a high school diploma but no college experience nor a post-secondary degree. In fact, for every one adult with a bachelor’s degree or higher who moved in, five adults with no more than a high school diploma moved into Idaho at the same time. This ratio improves with adults who had some college experience or an associate’s degree; for each one of these adults who moved into the state, two with no more than a high school diploma also moved in.

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$25,000 Micro-Grant to Increase Number of Computer Programmers

BoiseCodeWorks will use a $25,000 Idaho Department of Labor Micro-Grant to provide intensive, short-term training to meet Idaho’s increasing need for workers with computer programming skills.

manatcomputerdeskNearly 140 people will be trained, with 85 estimated to enter related employment within 30 days of completion. An anticipated hourly starting wage of $25 will complement a wage gain of $10,000 to $14,000 annually for current workers.

The Micro-Grant program, approved by the Idaho Workforce Development Council and funded through the Idaho Workforce Development Training Fund, provides up to $25,000 per grant to local and rural communities for workforce development projects on a smaller scale than the traditional projects. Approved projects must increase employment and wages of a community’s workforce or assist in stemming the out-migration of youth and young adult workers from Idaho communities.

Applications are reviewed and approved by a panel of representatives from business, education, economic development and the Idaho Department of Labor.

To see how the Idaho Workforce Development Training Fund works, visit



Fairfield Residents Receive Training in Area AutoCad and 3D Skills

A $25,000 Idaho Workforce Development Training Fund Micro-Grant is being used to increase the AutoCad and 3D skills of area residents in Fairfield.

Local officials believe the training, funded in part by the Idaho Department of Labor, will strengthen community skills sets and encourage area businesses to increase wages, hire new positions and expand.

Nearly 30 area residents will be trained for jobs with an anticipated starting hourly wage of $15 – $22  upon completion. Existing employees who complete training can expect a $2 to $5 hourly wage increase.

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Aging Workforce and Health Care Employment

There’s a common perception in economic discussions that an aging population – often defined as a growing population of retirees – drives health care employment, which sounds logical. In a general sense, the health care services and age have a “u-shaped” relationship – people need the health care industry the most at the beginning and the end of their lives.


Source: Idaho Department of Labor

This topic is especially important for Idaho as it has become a popular destination for retirees and is one of the nation’s fastest aging states. Low cost of living, bountiful recreational activities and a tax system favorable to retirees have often been cited as the reasons for this. Whatever it is that brings retirees to Idaho though, it is certain that they are indeed moving to Idaho in large numbers. Idaho has ranked in the top 10 among all states for the fastest growing retirement populations for several years.

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