Monthly Archives: March 2021

Idaho Beef Industry Showing Marked Recovery

The beef life cycle is one of the most complex of any food, taking anywhere from two to three years to bring beef from farm to fork. This process involves multiple stakeholders, beginning with farmers and ranchers and ending with packing plant workers. Traditionally, the U.S. beef industry has been comprised of three main sectors ‒ cattle production, feedlots and meat processing. The packing sector is the primary driving factor in the beef industry’s vertical supply chain. The packers are the market outlet for the feeding sector and in turn, the feedlots are the primary market outlet for the cow-calf producers.

An overview of Idaho’s beef industry shows the cattle production sector’s total cow-calf inventory has grown slightly faster than the national average. A 2019 January industry snapshot shows Idaho’s cattle inventory stood at 2.5 million cows and calves, raised across 7,400 farm operations. This inventory comprised 504,000 beef cows that had calved and 625,000 milk cows that had calved. About 48% of this inventory was in south central Idaho, which has a competitive cattle production advantage in forage and crop aftermath grazing resources compared with the rest of the state.

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FAQs for Unemployment Claimants about the American Rescue Plan Act

Are the unemployment insurance benefits funded through the CARES Act extended?

Yes. On March 12, 2021, Pres. Joe Biden signed the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021. This Act extended the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program, the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) program and the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) program. The programs are set to end on week ending Sept. 4, 2021. The American Rescue Plan contains a new provision to exempt $10,200 of unemployment benefits received in 2020 from federal income taxes. The state of Idaho does not exempt unemployment insurance benefits from state income taxes.

I am currently on an extension. Am I eligible for additional weeks?

Yes. Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) is often referred to as extended benefits. The bill added 29 weeks, extending the maximum number of benefit weeks from 24 to 53.

I am currently self-employed and receiving Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA). Are my benefits extended?

Yes. PUA is a program for low wage earners and self-employed individuals. The bill extended the program an additional 29 weeks, extending the maximum number of weeks from 50 to 79.

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Idaho’s February Unemployment Rate Down to 3.3%

NEWS RELEASE

For Immediate Release: March 26, 2021
Media Contacts: Craig Shaul, craig.shaul@labor.idaho.gov or Karen Jarboe Singletary, karen.jarboesingletary@labor.idaho.gov

 Year-to-year nonfarm employment growth of 1% leads nation

February’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 3.3%, down slightly from a revised 3.5% in January.

Idaho’s nonfarm payrolls edged upward by 1,200, leveling off after January’s gain of 4,500.

Civilian Labor Force

Idaho’s seasonally adjusted labor force remained virtually unchanged in February at 899,796, down from 900,205 in January.

The total number of working Idahoans increased by 912 in February to 870,056.

The number of unemployed Idahoans dropped 4.5% to 29,740.

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BoiseDev – Level up: Idaho programs help skill up workers for new jobs

By Margaret Carmel – BoiseDev senior reporter

Parker Carey got a leg up into his first job with the help of the State of Idaho.

Instead of flipping burgers or busing tables, Carey, 16, is learning the ins-and-outs of the meat cutting trade behind the counter at Idaho Meat and Seafood in Meridian. He earned his high school equivalency degree, learned the basics of food service at Life’s Kitchen last year and then with the help of the Department of Labor he landed at the butcher’s shop to build work experience.

“It feels good,” he said, before clocking in for a shift. “I feel accomplished in my life, like I can actually do things with myself. It’s nice to be able to afford things I couldn’t afford, so I like that part of it too.”

Carey is taking advantage of one of a raft of workforce training programs offered through the Idaho Department of Labor. His program, called WIOA for the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, helps connect out of work or underemployed Idahoans with job training in high demand fields. Through the program, the federally-funded program covers nearly the entire cost of wages for an employee like Carey in exchange for a company training them.

Read the full story on the BoiseDev website.

Around Idaho: Economic Activity in February 2021

Information provided in this article 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
Eastern Idaho

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

Region

  • The Panhandle Health District board voted by a 4-3 decision to extend the mask mandate for all five northern counties. The mandate will now remain in effect until the next board meeting, currently scheduled for April 22. Source: KREM

Kootenai County

  • Housing inventories in Kootenai County continue to drop due to high demand and aggressive offers by out-of-state buyers looking to move to northern Idaho. Inventory of homes below $1 million fell to only 27 in early February, with median prices up more than 30% from 2020. Source: Spokesman Review
  • Community Network Libraries, which have been closed since November due to COVID-19, have reopened with social distancing and occupancy regulations in effect. Source: Coeur d’ Alene Press
  • Dollar Fulfillment, a Hayden based e-commerce fulfillment company, has purchased several acres in the Post Falls Bighorn industrial park and is planning a future expansion there. Source: Journal of Business
  • Heritage Health is now partnering with the Kroc Center in Coeur d’Alene to distribute COVID-19 vaccines. Source: Coeur d’ Alene Press

Openings

  • Leavitt Works Gunsmithing in Hayden
  • Westside Pizza in Coeur d’Alene
  • Maverick Gas Station in Post Falls
  • Timberlane Trading Company in Coeur d’Alene

Sam.Wolkenhauer@labor.idaho.gov, regional economist
Idaho Department of Labor
(208) 457-8789 ext 4451

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Dearth of Skilled Workers Continues to Plague Employers

Despite the amount of unemployment created by the pandemic, the scarcity of skilled workers is growing more intense. Some industries have suffered more than others, however for people who are unemployed or pondering a transition to a skilled job with more security and higher pay – or need funding support for training – it’s a job seeker’s market.

A Divergence of Industries

Idaho and the nation were experiencing one of the longest periods of expansion in history prior to 2020. Finding skilled workers available to fill jobs had been a challenge for several years. Demographics and population growth limited the number of new people available to work. Hot industries were caught between increasing demand for services from the growing economy, and not having enough available workers to fill positions for skilled or unskilled workers. Government labor and training agencies were busy using pipeline training programs and apprenticeships to connect employers with workers.

In addition to the tragic loss of life, the economic disruption caused in the United States by Covid-19 has not been the same for each industry. The large number of job losses during 2020 were most concentrated in hospitality and consumer services – industries the pandemic impacted the most. Occupations most affected by layoffs tended to pay lower-than-average wages, resulting in the emergence of what some economists have dubbed the K-Shaped Recession. Figure 1 attempts to demonstrate this divergence of experience by lining out national wage experience into three categories or terciles.

Workers earning less than $16 per hour have endured more unemployment during the pandemic than occupations paying more $16 or more.

Figure 1: U.S. Job Losses by Wage Tercile

Source: Economic Policy Institute

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Idaho’s January Unemployment Rate Down to 3.4%

NEWS RELEASE

For Immediate Release: March 15, 2021
Media Contacts: Craig Shaul, craig.shaul@labor.idaho.gov, or Karen Jarboe Singletary, karen.jarboesingletary@labor.idaho.gov

Total nonfarm jobs up 1.1% over last year 

Idaho’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 3.4% in January, down slightly from a revised 3.8% rate for December, and well below April 2020’s revised historic high of 11.6%.

Revisions made to Idaho’s 2020 unemployment rate are the result of an annual benchmarking process conducted each year by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Civilian Labor Force

Idaho’s seasonally adjusted labor force went virtually unchanged in January at 900,205, up 1.1% (+10,015) over its revised pre-pandemic level in March of 2020.

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Idaho Launch Connects Workers to Job Training

Many Idahoans who lost their jobs or experienced reduced hours because of the pandemic continue to need support in finding work or retooling for a new career.

Idaho Launch LogoEnter Idaho Launch, a new program designed to connect those Idahoans with funding, education and career planning resources essential for rejoining the workforce. The program’s intuitive navigation guides users to research training opportunities by industry, region or skill.

Based on a statewide survey of more than 800 Idaho employers who identified skills they need in workers, the Idaho Workforce Development Council (WDC) developed SKILL SYNC, a tool on the Idaho Launch website for job seekers to match their skills to employer needs. On the website, users can search hiring trends, discover employer needs, see regional employment snapshots, research training opportunities and apply for training funds.

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Idaho Businesses Asked to Help Set Prevailing Wages for Davis-Bacon Projects

Survey Response Deadline – Oct. 22, 2021

Idaho’s building and heavy construction businesses are being asked to help establish prevailing wage rates for their industry, as required under the Davis-Bacon and Related Acts.

The survey is not limited to federally funded construction projects and is seeking data for active building, heavy, highway and residential construction projects in all of Idaho’s metropolitan counties between Jan. 1, 2020, and Dec. 31, 2021.

The Davis Bacon and Related Acts directs the U.S. Department of Labor to set prevailing wage rates that reflect the actual wages and fringe benefits paid to construction workers in the county where the work takes place.

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Labor Department Unveils New Look for IdahoWorks Website

NEWS RELEASE

For Immediate Release: March 5, 2021
Media Contact: Darlene Carnopis, Darlene.Carnopis@labor.idaho.gov

The Idaho Department of Labor’s website to connect job seekers with employers has a new look.

IdahoWorks.gov customers will find:

  • Contemporary new design.
  • More intuitive workflows which means fewer clicks to find what you need.
  • New components for better usability ‒ easier and improved login process.
  • Improved accessibility.
  • Updated job and resume search which delivers more information at a glance to users and includes tags for wages, education and experience requirements and remote work opportunities.
  • Updated resume pages with improved navigation, clear instructions, better wizards.
  • Improved mobile-friendly design.
  • Reorganized employer registration with clear notifications and instructions, improved navigation.

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