Around Idaho: Economic Activity in November 2020

Information provided in these news updates is from 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


  • The Panhandle Health District approved a mask mandate for all five northern counties, effective for 60 days. All five counties are currently in the “red” category for COVID cases, with high test positive rates and hospitals nearing or at full capacity. Source: Coeur d’Alene Press

Kootenai County

  • Northwest Specialty Hospital has terminated an agreement with MultiCare Health System, which would have allowed MultiCare to become the majority owner of the hospital. Northwest Specialty will instead enter into a new agreement with Mountain View Hospital of Idaho Falls which will allow Northwest Specialty to remain physician-owned and operated. Source: Journal of Business
  • The city of Post Falls adopted a city-wide mask recommendation and a mask requirement on city property. The city also has begun revising guidelines to reduce occupancy at city facilities to align with Idaho’s movement back to Stage 2 COVID requirements. Source: Coeur d’Alene Press

Openings Coeur d’Alene

  • University Auto Sales
  • Pho Le 1
  • Starbucks
  • See’s Candies
  • Budget Storage
  • Five Pine Wealth Management

Openings – Post Falls

  • Premier Vendor Mall
  • UPS
  • Riverside Coffee
  • Mugsy’s Espresso, regional economist
Idaho Department of Labor
(208) 457-8789 ext. 4451

NORTH CENTRAL IDAHO – Clearwater, Idaho, Latah, Lewis and Nez Perce Counties


  • North central Idaho’s manufacturing sector showed even more resilience in the pandemic than the state’s manufacturing sector. While U.S. manufacturing jobs in September fell 5 percent between February and September, Idaho manufacturing jobs grew 0.5 percent. Idaho was one of only three states with manufacturing growth. The region’s manufacturing employment grew an estimated 4.5 percent between February and September, as manufacturers added more than 200 jobs. Record high prices for lumber in the past few months buoyed sawmill jobs. The region’s largest manufacturer, Clearwater Paper in Lewiston, benefited from strong demand for toilet paper and other paper products. The national ammunition shortage and a surge in gun purchases raised employment at Vista Outdoors ammunition plant in Lewiston and some gun and gun parts manufacturers in the region. Aluminum jet boat builders in Lewiston and Orofino also have expanded as the coronavirus increased interest in outdoor recreation. Source: Idaho Department of Labor
  • No industrial sector has experienced more devastation from coronavirus than the leisure and hospitality sector, which includes restaurants, bars, lodging and amusement and recreation. North central Idaho’s leisure and hospitality jobs fell 8.3 percent, from 4,800 in September 2019 to 4,400 this September. While many leisure and hospitality businesses have restored the employment they lost last spring, others are still struggling. Among the businesses suffering the most were those that host conventions and other meetings, rely more on business travelers and serve a high proportion of travelers who come here as commercial airplane passengers. Moscow, where tourism primarily revolves around events and conferences at the University of Idaho and Washington State University, has especially been hard hit. The coronavirus-caused shutdown of all cruises to Clarkston has hurt many Lewiston businesses that catered to the high-end customers those brought. On the other hand, many lodging operations, golf courses and businesses serving hikers, campers, whitewater enthusiasts, anglers and hunters saw a surge in demand this summer and fall, as Americans escaped to the great outdoors. Source: Idaho Department of Labor
  • The pandemic caused changes in business activity in November. As coronavirus cases surged, Idaho moved back to Stage 2 on Nov. 13. Under the Stage 2 restrictions, all Idaho businesses can continue to operate while following precautions. Bar and restaurant patrons must be seated to be served, masks are required in long-term care facilities and all indoor and outdoor gatherings are limited to a maximum of 10 people. Washington State also imposed restrictions effective Nov. 17. Retailers are limited to 25 percent occupancy. Bars and fitness centers faced bans on having customers inside. At the same time, consumers once again began stockpiling toilet paper, disinfectant wipes and other items. The increased purchasing resulted in some local stores hiring additional staff to meet increased demand. Some stores reinstated quotas on high-demand products. In addition, the advent of winter also makes it more difficult for restaurants to provide outdoor options that allow them to accommodate more customers while keeping them socially distant. Source: Lewiston Tribune

 Nez Perce Tribe

  • The Nez Perce Tribe’s enterprises, like many other tourism-related businesses, have found 2020 challenging. Tribal enterprise revenues grew 38 percent between 2017 and 2019. The pandemic, especially the shutdown of the casinos for a week in the spring, and a cyberattack on its casino caused setbacks this year. With coronavirus cases on the rise again, the challenges are likely to persist this winter. Altogether, tribal enterprises employ 301 people — 193 at the casino hotel near Lewiston, 45 at Casino in Kamiah, 34 at Red Wolf Golf Club in Clarkston, seven at Camas Express near Winchester and two at Zim’s Hot Springs near New Meadows. Source: Lewiston Tribune
  • The tribe plans to eventually to turn the Riverside Sport Shop site near Orofino, which it purchased two years ago, into a casino. Progress on the site has been slowed by the pandemic, but demolition and construction could begin as early as January. Source: Lewiston Tribune

 Clearwater County

  • Idaho STEM Action Center gave its 2020 award for excellent STEM educator to Tim Gering, a teacher at Orofino Junior-Senior High School. It recognized him as a champion for science, technology, engineering and mathematics and for connecting students with industry leaders to mentor projects and provide invaluable career guidance. Gering said what he and other teachers are doing directly relates to jobs that these kids can get either after a degree or trade school or even going right into the workforce. Source: Clearwater Tribune

Idaho and Lewis Counties

  • The Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forest sold 84.5 million board feet of timber in the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30, the highest amount since 1991. Timber harvest on the Nez Perce-Clearwater forest, as on federal land across the country, was slashed starting in the 1990s, in response to changed public attitudes toward logging and its environmental effects. The increased timber harvest helps sustain jobs in the region’s wood products industry, buoying rural communities. Source: Lewiston Tribune
  • Craigmont, a town with 500 residents, is losing one of its last retail businesses. Berry’s Grocery expects to close in the next few months. Other retailers disappeared after the Highway 95 was reconstructed in the mid-1990s to skirt downtown Craigmont. In addition, the town lost its last sawmill in 2002, it became easier for residents to go shopping in Lewiston and Clarkston 45 minutes away and more people began purchasing online. Source: Lewiston Tribune
  • The new owners of Bear Hollow bed and breakfast along the Middle Fork of the Clearwater River are developing a vineyard. They are located at milepost 81, along U.S. 12, about seven miles east of Kooskia. Source: Idaho County Free Press
  •  Kamiah started work this fall on a $150,000 restoration of its swimming pool. The city pool will open next summer for the first time in more than four year, after donations by community members and Clearwater Economic Development Association secured a grant. About 900 children live in the Kamiah area. Source: Idaho County Free Press
  •  The Camas Prairie Food Bank recently moved into its new building near Les Schwab on North Street in Grangeville. Now, instead of operating out of an old house, the nonprofit has a nearly 6,000-square foot facility including a loading dock, storage, reception and waiting areas, demonstration room/kitchen and a large concrete-floor warehouse with a walk-in freezer and walk-in cooler. It serves from 350 to 500 people per month with need growing when seasonal jobs end in the winter. Source: Idaho County Free Press

Latah County

  • The city of Moscow annexed 154 acres recently purchased by Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories (SEL) property immediately south of the city line in November at SEL’s request. SEL, headquartered in Pullman, invents, designs and builds digital products and systems that protect power grids around the world. It has expanded every year, currently employing more than 2,500 people in Pullman, more than 600 in Lewiston and another 2,000 people around the globe. It is running out of space for expansion on its Pullman campus. It’s not yet known what SEL will do with its new property along Highway 95, but company officials say it will likely be put to use within the next five years. Source: Moscow-Pullman Daily News
  • Genesee voters in the November election passed a 40-year, $3.5 million bond to fund improvements to the city’s water system. After the loss of its largest well last spring, Genesee has only one active well, which does not have enough capacity to meet summer water demands The bond, along with grants, will help fund installation of at least two groundwater wells and make other upgrades to the water system. Construction may begin this spring. Source: Moscow-Pullman Daily News
  • Juliaetta voters approved a 40-year, $5.95 million bond for improvements to the city’s aging wastewater system in November. The bond will allow the city to replace undersized equipment with equipment that will meet future needs and make sure it meets federal and state wastewater requirements. Construction could begin as early as March and take about 15 months to complete. Source: Moscow-Pullman Daily News
  • The coronavirus pandemic reduced enrollment at the University of Idaho and Washington State University this fall. About 9,050 students enrolled on the Moscow campus this fall, about 3 percent lower than the 9,328 enrolled in fall 2019. Fewer recent Idaho high school graduates enrolled for fall semester. The number of first-year, first-time students from Idaho fell by 61, or 5.7 percent. Student retention held at 77 percent. International student enrollment fell 29 percent from 652 in 2019 to 464 in 2020. Offsetting some of the other losses, new graduate student enrollment rose 4 percent. On its Pullman campus, WSU enrollment dipped 5.1 percent this fall to 19,900. This was the first time in several years on-campus enrollment dropped. Enrollment at the two schools drives economic activity in Moscow. Source: Moscow-Pullman Daily News; Idaho Education News
  • With COVID-19 cases rising in early November, University of Idaho officials encouraged college students to stay at home after Thanksgiving break and finish the semester remotely. Many Washington State University students are likely to do the same. That means fewer customers for Moscow retailers and service providers in December. Source: Moscow-Pullman Daily News
  • Steve and Sue Heick recently received a Century Farm Award. Their farm north of Moscow started in 1875 by his ancestor, an immigrant from Denmark. Agriculture continues to play a vital role in Latah County. According to the 2017 Census of Agriculture, 1,041 farms operate in the county, and the market value of their products is greater than $80 million a year. Source: Moscow-Pullman Daily News

 Nez Perce and Asotin Counties

  • Lewis-Clark State College welcomed the community Oct. 23 to an open house for the Schweitzer Career and Technical Education Center in the Lewiston Orchards. The 86,000-square-foot building will house most of LCSC’s technical and industrial division programs, which currently are scattered across the school’s campus on Normal Hill. Expanded equipment and more space will enhance training for: electricians; automotive technicians; heating, ventilation and air conditioning experts; millwrights and other machinery maintenance mechanics; and information technology. The new center was designed with the area’s industry needs in mind through technical advisory committees that helped with the design process and offered input. LCSC’s new center is located next to the Lewiston School District’s A. Neil DeAtley Career Technical Education Center. Together, they significantly enhance the opportunities to develop the skills required by industry throughout the region. At the center’s unveiling, Gov. Brad Little said he wants to see the career-technical successes of LCSC and Lewiston High replicated across Idaho. Source: Lewiston Tribune
  • The Port of Clarkston plans to undertake a $440,000 road project next year at its Turning Pointe Business Park. That will open up access to lots that businesses can purchase. Currently available lots can only be leased because of restrictions imposed by grants for the park’s development. The port will make another $430,000 capital improvements in 2021. They include expansion of the port’s fiber optic telecommunications network and a floating dock at 14th Street to make it easier for passengers to disembark from overnight cruise boats. Upgrading amenities for the cruise boat industry is a priority for the port because of its economic benefits. A recent study found that cruise boats generated $4 million for the Lewiston-Clarkston Valley in 2019. Source: Lewiston Tribune
  • A replica of the first Idaho Territorial Capitol moved from Main and 12th streets in Lewiston to Capital and Fourth streets downtown next to the Nez Perce Historical Society museum in November. Now, it sits less than 150 feet away from the Territorial Capitol’s original location on Third Street and close to the historic Luna House. The museum and Luna House have seen fewer visitors this year as coronavirus has restricted visitors. The shutdown of the cruise industry alone was responsible for much of that decline. Source: Lewiston Tribune
  • The Thain Road corridor in the Lewiston Orchards is increasing its commercial offerings. Rants & Raves Brewery recently opened at 138 Thain Road. It brews its beer in Moscow, where it was founded four years ago. A new Burger King offering free, family-friendly computer games at its tables will open early in 2021. A car wash is under construction near El Sombrero. Source: Lewiston Tribune
  • PK’s Place, one of the Lapwai’s oldest businesses, is preparing for the future while struggling with the effects of the pandemic. The bar’s new owner, Clayton Seely — whose family has owned the bar since the 1950s — hopes to draw more people from the Lewiston-Clarkston area to Lapwai, which is located on Highway 95 about 15 miles from Lewiston. Eventually, he hopes to serve food either at the bar or through a food truck to expand limited dining options in Lapwai. In surveys and community meetings, Lapwai residents have expressed the importance of expanding shopping and food service options in their community. The new owners recently added employees and are renovating the PK’s building. Like other bar and restaurants, business remains down because of the coronavirus. The bar temporarily discontinued holding events such as pool tournaments, dart tournaments and delayed hiring disc jockeys. Source: Lewiston Triune


  • John Bosco Academy in Cottonwood opened a thrift store, Second Hand Treasures, in Fenn, a small town halfway between Cottonwood and Grangeville on Highway 95.


  • Downtown Lewiston lost one of its oldest businesses when U.S. Bank closed its Main Street branch on Nov. 1., regional economist
Idaho Department of Labor
(208) 799-5000 ext. 3984

SOUTHWESTERN IDAHO – Ada, Adams, Boise, Canyon, Elmore, Gem, Owyhee, Payette, Valley & Washington Counties 


  • Milk continues to be Idaho’s top commodity and while it has suffered price plunges recently, it currently is exhibiting strong pricing, which experts believe can be directly attributed to the CARES Act “Farmers to Families Food Box” program. Class III benchmark milk price rose $5.18, to $21.61 per hundredweight in one week, the highest October price since 2014. The increase is carrying forward as seen in the futures contracts ‒ November at $23.46 and December at $19.06. January’s futures contract drops back to $17.79 per hundredweight. In 2020, Class III milk averaged $17.89 per hundredweight compared to a year ago at $16.37 and in 2018 it was $14.72 per hundredweight. The concentration of Idaho dairies across southern Idaho are not covered by a Federal Milk Marketing Order. However, some food processors pay the price to maintain a healthy supply chain.

Source: U.S. Department of Agriculture

  • Wisconsin produced 276.4 million pounds of the U.S. September cheese total, up 0.7 percent from August but 1.4 percent below a year ago. California output, at 192.8 million pounds, was up 0.7 percent from August but 5.4 percent below a year ago. Idaho contributed 87.1 million pounds, up 7.0 percent from August and 4.1 percent above a year ago. Source: Capital Press

Ada County

  • Valley Regional Transit reopened its Boise downtown station after closing in June due to COVID-19 concerns. This happened only after VRT submitted a safety plan to Central District Health that included sanitation, closing off touch points such as water fountains and vending machines, along with posting signage regulating elevator capacity. Buses also resumed the collection of fares from riders. Source: Idaho News 6
  • Cradlepoint, a 2006 Boise start-up, was acquired by Ericsson, a Swedish company. Its first products were hotspots for the travelling business consumer. It has since expanded to make routers and software that help with location tracking locations, supporting telehealth medical diagnostics and other technology strides. The company reported about 700 employees with two-thirds located in Boise. Cradlepoint has hired 100 workers during the pandemic and experienced 40 percent growth during the third quarter of 2020. Source: Idaho Statesman
  • Allegiant Air announced it will add a direct flight between Boise and Santa Ana, California, beginning Feb. 12, 2021. This adds to the existing flights leaving Boise to warmer climates:  Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Palm Springs and Mesa, Arizona. Source: Idaho Statesman
  • Middleton School District is using funds from the federal CARES Act to compensate employees for extra time worked during the pandemic. Certified and administrative staff will receive $1,762 while the classified staff will receive $1,000. This sign of appreciation adds up to $586,000 and was based on a formula that reviewed extra time spent training and preparing the classroom. In the case of classified staff, lost wages were considered because of delayed starting dates. Source: Idaho Press
  • Summers Funeral Home has consolidated its operations in its Meridian location, closing the Boise downtown location, which has operated for 81 years. The almost 16,000-square-foot building and approximate ¼ acre has been sold to Idaho Power. The company spokesman stated they do not have immediate plans for the property. Source: Idaho Statesman
  • Involta expanded its data server capacity for the second time after setting up shop in Boise nine years ago. The company, based in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, provides data processing services to companies that do not have an IT department. The 5,000-square-foot addition allows the company to expand its services to an estimated six more Idaho companies. The company owns its building and owns the land around it to expand in the future. Source: Idaho Business Review
  • The U.S. Small Business Administration announced that $2.8 billion worth of loans were made to business owners in Idaho and eastern Oregon through its Boise District Office this year. In traditional lending programs, 436 loans were made totaling $170.3 million. The Payroll Protection Program, which offers a loan that can be forgiven if workers are retained through the pandemic, funded 26,371 loans totaling $2.1 billion. The Economic Injury Disaster Loan program funded 9,635 loans totaling $539.4 million. COVID-19 programs accounted for most of the loan funding through the SBA in Idaho and across the nation. Source: Idaho Business Review
  • Boise State University is suffering from cutbacks in state funding, lost revenues from canceling classes and events plus the additional costs to prepare for the 2020 fall enrollment during the COVID-19 pandemic. It announced a $1.1 million furlough that will affect faculty, anticipated that lower-paid faculty will give up four days of pay while faculty earning greater than $150,000 annually will forego 10 days of pay. This follows a previous furlough that impacted administrative staff last spring. Source: Idaho Education News

Adams County

  •  Brundage Mountain Resort near McCall has a new owner, Brundage Mountain Holdings. The group of Idaho investors purchased a majority interest in Brundage from the family of Judd DeBoer. Operations are not expected to change. The new owner plans to further develop the resort. Its first project will be breaking ground on a new day lodge next spring. Source: McCall Star-News

Canyon County

  • The city of Caldwell approved annexing 115 acres into city limits for development of the North Ranch Business Park. Ball Ventures developer Tommy Alquist has plans to build a mixed-use business park located directly across from Sky Ranch Business Park. The ground is part of Caldwell’s urban renewal district. Source: Idaho Press

Elmore County

  • The Department of Defense awarded a $426,000 grant to the Mountain Home School District for facility improvements. The DOD created this pilot program, Defense Community Infrastructure Program, with $50 million in funding to support military installation communities. After receiving 100 applications in its inaugural year, Mountain Home was one of 16 awardees with the funds earmarked for classroom improvements such as carpet, tile and paint. Source: Mountain Home News

Gem County

  • The median home price of $282,533 in Gem County rose 21 percent from September 2019 to September 2020. That was based on 29 sales and 35 homes listed for sale at the end of the month. The sales were up 32 percent compared with the same month in 2019 while inventory was down 45 percent. It is a seller’s market with a projection of less than a month’s supply of inventory. Source: Emmett Messenger Index

Owyhee County

  • The inaugural Oktober Festival was held in Marsing at the Spot Pavilion featuring Powderhaus Brewery of Boise. Source: The Owyhee Avalanche
  • Homedale School District Superintendent Rob Sauer has been named 2020 Superintendent of the Year for Idaho. He has been at this post for nine years and working in Idaho’s educational system for 26 years. He believes the school district has moved from training new teachers to attracting successful teachers from the surrounding school districts. Source: The Owyhee Avalanche
  • Idaho Power donated a Ford F-350 utility truck to the Bruneau Fire Protection District. The truck will be used to haul rescue gear, emergency medical technician supplies and firefighting equipment. Idaho Power periodically donates equipment to agencies in need when its fleet is replaced. Source: The Owyhee Avalanche

Valley County

  • Brundage Mountain Resort near McCall has a new owner, Brundage Mountain Holdings. The group of Idaho investors purchased a majority interest in Brundage from the family of Judd DeBoer. Operations are not expected to change. The new owner plans to further develop the resort. Its first project will be breaking ground on a new day lodge next spring. Source: McCall Star-News
  •  A $6.6 million project at the McCall Municipal Airport was nearing completion in late October. The taxiway was moved to comply with Federal Aviation Association rules to reduce the risk of collision between planes taking off and planes taxiing to hangars or parking on the airport apron. The change also would allow the airport to accommodate scheduled commercial passenger flights in the future. Source: McCall Star-News
  • The pandemic is powering a building boom in McCall, as the number of people interested in moving to Valley County has surged. Construction activity is at its highest level in a dozen years. Source: McCall Star-News
  • Cascade Hardware Store True Value is rising along Highway 55 by the aquatic and recreation center. The new store will replace the much smaller store on Main Street. Source: BoiseDev

Washington County

  • The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services through the Health Resources and Services Administration awarded a $1.2 million grant to Weiser Memorial Hospital. The funds will support a 24-hour telehealth services for high risk behavioral health patients — a service that is sparse in rural area. The service is administered by the hospital’s emergency room. Source: Weiser Signal American
  • Weiser welcomed a new business in August. Far West Agribusiness Association moved from Spokane, Washington, where it operated since its founding in 1959. Its members include fertilizer companies, farm equipment manufacturers and providers of other crop inputs in Idaho, Oregon, Washington, Utah and Nevada. The association reaches out to legislators on behalf of its members and provides safety training. Source: Capital Press


  • The Lobby Bakery opened in Glenns Ferry, adjacent to the Historic Opera Bakery. Source: Mountain Home News
  • Weiser River Cattle Farmers is a new entity formed after Reynolds Creek Calf Ranch of Murphy acquired Kerner Feedlot of Weiser. Upgrades to infrastructure around the feedlot occurred since the change in ownership last May. Source: Weiser Signal American
  • Far West Agribusiness Association held a ribbon cutting at its new office in Weiser, moving from Spokane after almost 60 years. The new executive director is a Weiser resident and has been affiliated with the agricultural marketing and lobbying group for more than a decade. Source: Weiser Signal American
  • Living Sky Farms opened a store at its farm in Weiser to sell organic eggs, chicken, beef and raw milk directly to the public. Source: Weiser Signal American
  • A bridge opening ceremony was held at Marsing to commemorate completion of the new Highway 55 bridge spanning the Snake River. Construction lasted about 22 months replacing a 70-year old bridge. A pedestrian walkway is a new amenity available on the northside of the bridge. Source: The Owyhee Avalanche
  • Tacos California moved its food truck to Weiser from Payette. Source: Weiser Signal American
  • Smokin’ Tawny’s Food Truck hosted a Halloween-themed grand opening in Weiser. The barbecue food truck concept allows for reduced costs compared with a brick and mortar operation. Source: Weiser Signal American
  • Tokyo Hot Chicken opened as part of the Crave Collective in Meridian. The multi-restaurant menu provides delivery to Boise, Meridian, Eagle, Nampa, Caldwell, Kuna and Star. Source: Idaho Statesman
  • Mérité Bake Shop opened as one of the dessert options on the Crave Collective menu available for pickup or delivery. The Crave Collective plans to duplicate its concept in other states. Source: Idaho Statesman
  • Omakase Sushi is another entrée restaurant opening under the Crave umbrella. Source: Idaho Statesman
  • Stoney’s Road House, a multi-entertainment venue with onsite food and drink trucks held its premier opening. The event was free to the public at Emmett’s Mitchell Industrial Park where its stages and a mechanical bull are situated under the Timber Pavilion. Source: Emmett Messenger Index
  • A ribbon cutting was held at Payette River Regional Technical Academy’s new location, a previous U.S. Department of Agriculture building in Emmett. Source: Emmett Messenger Index
  • JPMorgan Chase Bank built a new branch in Boise, replacing its instore Fred Meyer location. There will be up to 10 staff at the new venue. There are currently 20 Chase branches throughout Idaho with this location and three others offering private banking services. Source: Idaho Business Review
  • The Fix opened in Boise offering nutritional shakes at the space previously occupied by Moss Coffee and Tea. Source: Idaho Statesman
  • Half Priced Books opened its first Idaho store in Meridian where it sells used and new books. It is a family-owned chain with 126 retail locations in 19 states, headquartered in Dallas. Source: Idaho Business Review
  • Sid’s Garage opened in downtown Boise with some of the favorites from its former Meridian restaurant Donut + Dog and offers other menu items. The proprietors, who relocated from Nashville to Boise in 2019, closed its Meridian location due to COVID-19 restrictions early in the pandemic. Source: Idaho News 6 


  • Chandlers Steakhouse closed its doors for a one-week period as it dealt with COVID-19 spread among staff. During the downtime, a deep clean was conducted and a new air cleaning system was installed that filters out 99.4 percent of pollutants, dust, allergens, mold, bacteria and viruses. Other restaurants in Boise have installed similar ‘needlepoint bipolar ionization’ systems as a preventative measure against COVID-19.  Source: Idaho Statesman
  • Petite 4 restaurant in Boise will close at the end of 2020, allowing owners time to reflect on a future concept. The restaurant opened its doors in 2018 after transitioning from a popular downtown sandwich shop. Source: Idaho Statesman

Hiring Events

  • Idaho Department of Labor’s Caldwell office held a drive-thru job fair in its parking lot. There were more than 1,000 positions to be filled with a wide range of occupations. Source: Idaho Department of Labor
  • Bogus Basin Mountain started a month of recruitment for the ski season hoping to fill 400 full and part-time positions. Benefits include a ski pass, discounts on food and drink along with free transportation up the hill. Source: Emmett Messenger Index
  • Lactalis American Group is spending $1.7 million on an expansion that will create 75 new jobs. It is providing a $500 bonus to new hires and had a plethora of positions available when it hosted a job fair in September. According to company sources, it currently employs more than 750 people.  Source: Idaho News 6, regional economist
Idaho Department of Labor
(208) 735-2500 ext. 3639

SOUTH CENTRAL IDAHO – Blaine, Camas, Cassia, Gooding, Jerome, Lincoln, Minidoka and Twin Falls counties

Blaine County

  • Two significant broadband projects funded by federal CARES Act (Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act) grants are expected to bring higher-speed internet to Carey and Picabo before the end of 2020. Carey received $657,360 in broadband funding to enhance its fiber network. Once completed, broadband connectivity will span from city hall to the Blaine County Fairgrounds. Picabo’s $420,000 fiber-optic project will mainly provide high-speed internet to underserved households in the area. Source: Idaho Mountain Express
  • The city of Sun Valley has begun reviewing plans for the proposed Sunshine Townhomes Project in the Elkhorn Village neighborhood. Texas-based Timberline Real Estate Partners plans to build 51 townhouse units in three phases. During the initial phase, the developer plans to build five residential buildings on the southeast section of the site, with 21 two-bedroom units, five three-bedroom units and one four-bedroom unit. Source: Idaho Mountain Express
  • Sun Valley Economic Development held its 2020 Economic Summit to discuss the tourism industry performance over the past summer and how it might develop during the region’s upcoming ski season. The panel concluded the impact of the pandemic in the region was mixed as the changing economic landscape helped some sectors of the Wood River Valley and hurt others. On one hand, the real estate market experienced record-breaking sales. The median sales price of a house in the local market rose to $660,000, a 39 percent year-over-year increase. On the other hand, a survey of business operators in the region indicated that 55 percent experienced worse performance than previous years, 12 percent characterized it as the same, 22 percent said it was better and 11 percent did not fit into a category. Source: Idaho Mountain Express

Jerome County

  • The Idaho Transportation Department announced plans to begin construction on the N Canal Bridge east of Jerome on State Highway 25. The first phase of construction will close off the South 100 W approach to the bridge to traffic and divert it onto the Producers Livestock parking lot. During the second phase the North 100 W approach will be blocked off. The project is expected to be completed by March 2021. Source: 1310 KLIX

Twin Falls County

  • Chobani announced its starting hourly wage will increase to at least $15 per hour, pushing the average hourly rate at Chobani manufacturing plants to around $19 per hour. The pay changes are planned to go into effect in the first quarter of 2021. The company has also included special incremental bonuses to all hourly plant employees for the past three quarters and an ongoing daily childcare subsidy to support those who were without childcare options due to closed schools and childcare centers. Source: Times-News
  • Magic Valley Brewing has announced its plans to expand to the downtown Twin Falls location. Although the exact dates have not been disclosed yet, the location is expected to bring locally brewed beer and some pub food to the area. ­Source: 98.3 The Snake
  • Seven new stores are opening at Twin Falls’ Magic Valley Mall. This is in addition to the ongoing construction on the Texas Roadhouse near the new Olive Garden, which opened last year. The ongoing construction at the restaurant was delayed because of COVID-19 but has since resumed. Source: Times-News

Openings – Twin Falls

  • PlayJoy x Ellis Amusement
  • Remi Bleu Kids
  • Remi Bleu
  • Allstate Insurance
  • Dulcelandia
  • El Asadero Mexican Restaurant
  • Sweet Shack
  • Sweet T’s Cupcakery


  • Blip Printers in Twin Falls has permanently closed its doors after 35 years of operation. The print business has experienced a significant decline as consumers have shifted to digital media. Blip started with three employees, increased to 25 but recently dropped to six workers. Source: Times-News, regional economist
Idaho Department of Labor
(208) 735-2500 ext. 3639

SOUTHEASTERN IDAHO – Bannock, Bear Lake, Bingham, Caribou, Franklin, Oneida & Power counties 


  • Idaho State University held a ribbon cutting for the $7.1 million Davis Field renovation project that began in March. In addition to the widened field and proper drainage system, improvements include a new set of aluminum bleachers on the west side of the field that provide ADA accessibility, and the east side bleachers were replaced with a terraced grass hillside for informal seating. Source: Idaho State Journal
  • The J.R. Simplot Company has partnered with the Idaho Department of Fish and Game to open approximately 10,000 acres of the company’s private property in southeastern Idaho’s highlands for hunting, fishing and recreation use. The Simplot 10,000-acre enrollment is known as the Aspen Range and comprises five major parcels of property located within two game management units. One large parcel is along the Ninety Percent Range northwest of Soda Springs, which is within Game Management Unit 72. The remaining properties are located in Game Management Unit 76 east of Soda Springs. These properties are located in Trail Canyon, Slug Creek, Diamond Creek, and between Sulphur Canyon and Swan Lake Gulch. Source: Farm and Ranch

Bannock County

  • MiaCate Kennedy I — a native of the San Juan Islands northwest of Seattle — has been appointed as the new CEO for Bannock Development Corp. Source: Idaho State Journal
  • The Pocatello City Council voted 4-2 to approve an ordinance that mandates people wear face coverings to help limit the spread of COVID-19. Effective Nov 21, masks or face were required by adults and children age 5 and older in all indoor and outdoor public areas within Pocatello city limits. Pocatello plans to implement a 30-day grace period for educating the public about the ordinance. After 30 days, those who do not comply would be cited with an infraction and could be subject to a $50 fine by Pocatello police. The council is set to revisit the ordinance at the first regular meeting of January 2021 and every first regular city council meeting of each month thereafter unless sooner repealed. Source: Idaho State Journal
  • Bannock County voters rejected the plan to study a proposed Pocatello-Chubbuck merger. In response to an advisory question asking Bannock County voters if they “support exploring the consolidation of Pocatello and Chubbuck into one city,” 20,464 voters or 53 percent of all ballots cast voted against the study while 17,852 voters or 47 percent of all ballots cast supported it. Source: Idaho State Journal
  • A $12 million proposal to build a new Portneuf District Library building in Chubbuck for the community’s growing population failed to receive the necessary voter support. The bond required a supermajority of at least 66 percent voter support to pass but only got 47 percent voter support. A similar bond vote to build a new Portneuf District Library building failed in 2019. ​A $1.1 million bond to build a new fire station in McCammon also failed to pass, albeit narrowly. Source: Idaho State Journal
  • A Pocatello manufacturer that makes medical alert devices – LiveFree Emergency Response Inc – is in the process of hiring between 50 and 70 additional staff members for its new division, called LiveFree Personal Protection. The new face mask production lines will have the capacity to make up to 800,000 flat, blue surgical masks per month and approximately the same volume of conical N95 respirator masks. The company has already reached a gentleman’s agreement to maintain a stockpile of masks for Mountain View Hospital in Idaho Falls. The company also is applying for an Idaho Global Entrepreneurial Mission grant to automate its production process. Source: Idaho State Journal
  • Southeastern Idaho Community Action Agency recently broke ground on a new housing development in Chubbuck. Officials say the nearly 20-acre Alpine Crossing subdivision will accommodate more than 80 “stylish single-family homes” and provide affordable housing options in the community. The development, located on Philbin Road north of Connor Academy, will be constructed in phases. The first phase will include about 20 homes and should be completed around 2023. Source: Idaho State Journal
  • The Pocatello Police Department has added a new substation to its ranks thanks to the Portneuf Health Trust. The approximately 500-square-foot substation at 500 S. 11th Ave. features additional places for officers to complete their reports, conduct interviews and other police-related duties. The new substation space is provided at no cost to the Pocatello Police Department by the PHT. The city of Pocatello will be responsible for the maintenance of the substation. Source: East Idaho News

 Franklin County

  • The cities of Oxford, Clifton and Dayton are recipients of $1.7 million in Idaho Department of Commerce broadband infrastructure grants for broadband projects to facilitate remote learning and economic development. The grants are funded through the CARES Act. Direct Communications, an Idaho homegrown company, stepped up to the challenge and agreed to deliver fiber to the residents. The company is required to have the main backbone of fiber installed by Dec. 15. It has located existing infrastructure lines in each of the communities and is currently in the process of installing that infrastructure. Source: Preston Citizen

Power County

  • Lamb Weston, which runs a potato processing plant right outside American Falls, is planning a $90 million, 50,000-foot expansion. The new line which will add more than 50 million pounds per year into the company product mix and is scheduled to start up in the spring of 2022. The company plans to hire between 60-70 new employees to support the operation. Power County commissioners have granted Lamb Weston a five-year tax exemption on the new construction to help bring the expansion into the county. Source: Power County Press


  • Palate Street Bistro food truck in Pocatello, regional economist
Idaho Department of Labor
(208) 236-6710 ext. 4331

EASTERN IDAHO – Bonneville, Butte, Caribou, Clark, Custer, Fremont, Jefferson, Lemhi, Madison, & Teton counties


  • The Eastern Idaho Health District moved Bonneville County to the most serious level of its COVID-19 Regional Response Plan after it hit the metric of 45 active COVID-19 cases per 10,000 people for three consecutive days. Bonneville joins Lemhi, Madison and Teton counties in the critical risk category. Source: East Idaho News
  • The Department of Energy has announced the Idaho National Laboratory is the preferred site for a proposed test reactor the U.S. Department of Energy is developing. The Versatile Test Reactor would be the first new test reactor built in the U.S. in decades and would test how fuels, materials and sensors hold up when battered with radiation. The reactor’s draft environmental impact statement will be published in mid-December, and INL would be listed as the preferred alternative in the statement. The other site being considered is Tennessee’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory. Source: Post Register
  • Lewis-Clark State College has signed a memorandum of understanding and agreement with College of Eastern Idaho for a co-admission and co-enrollment partnership as well as a financial aid consortium agreement, all of which will help students who want to attend both institutions. The agreement allows students at both colleges to be enrolled at and take classes from both institutions for students to work toward a four-year degree. This marks the second co-enrollment agreement for CEI who partnered with the University of Idaho in 2017 when Eastern Idaho Technical College transitioned to a community college. Source: East Idaho News

Bonneville County

  • More than a year after Idaho Falls’ last public transportation system shuttered, a replacement route is becoming a reality. Greater Idaho Falls Transit (GIFT) now has three board members appointed by the city of Idaho Falls. The group has designed a logo, filed for grants through the Idaho Transportation Department to create bus stops and is in the final stages of drafting routes. Some funding sources for the new system have already been established. Idaho Falls was apportioned $4.19 million in potential CARES Act funding this spring as part of a multi-billion dollar national supplemental fund from the Federal Transit Administration to help transit agencies work through the COVID-19 pandemic. The Idaho Falls City Council approved $140,000 in spending on the future evolution of local public transportation in July, the same amount it had annually budgeted for the former transportation system while it was operating. Source: Post Register
  • The Veterans Center in Pocatello will soon be moving its local headquarters to Idaho Falls. The new location is under construction and is expected to be completed by spring or summer of 2021. The planned location is a 3,000-foot space on the third floor of the Joseph A. Clark building in the Taylor Crossing On the River development. The Vet Center is funded by the Department of Veterans Affair. Source: Post Register
  • A 60-meter tower 23 miles northwest of Idaho Falls off U.S. Highway 20 has become a source of curiosity for many who pass by. Public records obtained from Bingham County Planning and Zoning indicate the structure is a “temporary meteorological evaluation tower to verify the wind characteristics at a potential site for a wind farm.” Wind data will be collected over the next two years and the size of the wind farm will depend on the data gathered. Arco Wind speculates there could be anywhere from 50-70 windmills. That amount would generate between 200 and 400 megawatts of electricity — enough to power between 40,000 and 80,000 homes. Source: East Idaho News
  • Melaleuca awarded more than $2 million in bonuses to 170 employees who reached landmark anniversaries working for the company in 2020. Sixty-four employees received $5,000, 37 received $10,000, 36 received $15,000, 18 received $20,000, seven received $25,000 and eight employees received $30,000 bonus checks. To keep up with the soaring demand for Melaleuca’s health and wellness products, the company has added 1,333 employees to its workforce since January 2020. Source: East Idaho News

Jefferson County

  • Two school bond measures worth $7.6 million were rejected by voters in eastern Idaho. Both bond measures on the ballot were from Ririe School District 252. Most ballots cast in the 2020 election went for the $1.2 million maintenance bond, but the measure fell short of the two-thirds majority that was required. The margin was less close for the larger bond, which would have dedicated $6.4 million to the construction of a new high school gym. That bond measure had only 43 percent of votes cast in favor. Source: Post Register

Madison County

  • Rexburg City Council met to discuss a possible mask mandate but amid strong reactions from members of the public, city leaders decided not to pursue the ordinance for now. Madison County is currently in the critical risk — the highest level — of Eastern Idaho Public Health’s COVID-19 Regional Response Plan. Source: East Idaho News


Teton County

  • The Teton School District has moved its students to a fully home-based learning model amid a surge of confirmed local cases of COVID-19. All students will remain in a virtual learning model until at least Nov. 25, the district announced in a press release. Source: East Idaho News
  • Voters renewed a two-year $3.2 million supplemental levy for Teton School District 401. The levy measure, which was also passed in 2016 and 2018, will be used to hire additional staff members, provide higher salaries for teachers and continue the district’s all-day kindergarten and winter sports programs. Source: Post Register


  • Hearts Bridal & Tuxedo in Idaho Falls, regional economist
Idaho Department of Labor
(208) 236-6710 ext. 4331