Monthly Archives: January 2022

Apprenticeship Profile: Idaho Forest Group creates new careers for its employees.

Billie Jo Spencer, a filer bencher apprentice at the Moyie Springs sawmill near Bonners Ferry for Idaho Forest Group (IFG), has been moving up the pay scale by increasing her job skills through IFG and Idaho Department of Labor apprenticeship programs.

Billie Jo Spencer

Billie Jo Spencer

The Moyie Springs mill produces about 200 million board feet of dimension lumber products per year. It requires a skilled work force to keep the mill running smoothly and efficiently, IFG officials say.

Spencer started working for IFG 12 years ago, driving a fork lift. She completed the Filer-Fitter apprenticeship a couple years ago, and she’s working on her second apprenticeship as a saw filer.

“I’m always learning something,” she says. “I’m putting teeth in the saws and welding the shoulders.”

photo: workers cutting lumber

There are three levels of being a filer bencher, Spencer says. She’s on level one right now, and hopes to continue to move up to the higher levels. IFG mills are highly automated for efficiency. At the Moyie mill, raw logs are rough-cut by special machinery as they enter the mill on a conveyer belt. Farther down the line, the large blocks of wood are sawed into stud lumber in 8- and 9-foot- long sections. Continue reading

Job Creation and New Startups in Idaho

New private business establishments (“startups”) are an important driver of employment and economic growth for Idaho as well as the nation. This short report follows up on startup activity in the state and finds continued growth in Idaho startups through 2020 with the startup and entrepreneurship rates above the national average and startup failure rates now on par with the national average. However, startups’ employment footprint has declined, driven by a trend towards smaller new establishments. Additionally, their employment footprint is uneven across industries, with various services, construction and retail trade accounting for almost 70% of total employment by startups in 2019. Moreover, the entrepreneurship rate is negatively correlated with the lagged startup failure rate, with a 10 percentage point reduction in the failure rate associated with two more startups per 1,000 of the civilian labor force. Relative to neighboring states except for Washington, Idaho continues to have higher startup and entrepreneurship rates and is second to Oregon in lowest startup failure rate as of 2018.

The number of startups in Idaho have steadily grown over the past three decades from an estimated 3,249 in 1994 to 6,526 in 2020, as shown in Figure 1. Startup activity is unsurprisingly pro-cyclical with the economy, as evidenced by the dip accompanying the 2001 recession and the large decline during the Great Recession of 2007-2009. Since reaching its recessionary trough in 2010, startups have grown at an average annual rate of 8.74%. (Note that since the reference period for the Business Employment Dynamics Survey is March, the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic and recession was not captured in this time series.)

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Boise Multi-Employer Job Fair Set for Feb. 2


For Immediate Release: Jan. 25, 2022
Media Contact: Joe Goitiandia,

Idaho Labor is hosting a multi-employer job fair Feb. 2, from 1 to 4 p.m., at the Holiday Inn Express, 475 W. Parkcenter Blvd., in Boise.

Job seekers can meet with many area employers representing a variety of industries hiring for jobs such as production workers, warehouse associates, merchandisers, material handlers, electricians, maintenance mechanics, production operators, route sales representatives, caregivers, housekeepers, customer service representatives, bus drivers, equipment operators, receiving coordinators and  administrative staff.

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Idaho’s December Unemployment Rate Reaches Historic Low of 2.4%


For Immediate Release: Jan. 21, 2022
Media Contact: or

Idaho’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 2.4% in December, a historic low and one-tenth of a percentage point below the state’s previous record of 2.5% in December 2019.

The number of Idahoans employed or looking for work grew by 806 people (0.1%) to 909,467 – marking the smallest over-the-month labor force gain through the last five months of 2021.

Labor force participation decreased slightly from 62.3% to 62.2% in December. The state’s participation rate dropped below the previous historic low in June 2021 and has continued decreasing in the months since – an indication of a persistently tight labor market. Idaho’s peak participation rate reached 71.4% in September 1998.

Total employment grew by 2,522 to 887,379, up 0.3%, while total unemployment dropped by 1,716 (7.2%) to 22,088. According to The Conference Board’s Help Wanted Online there were 51,765 online job openings in Idaho in December – a ratio of 2.3 openings for every unemployed Idahoan.

Idaho’s nonfarm job growth exceeded seasonal expectations in December, up 2,000 jobs (0.3%) for a total of 790,500 jobs. Industry sectors with the greatest over-the-month gains include natural resources (4.9%); information (3.9%); transportation, warehousing and utilities (2.4%); durable goods manufacturing (1.6%); federal government (0.8%); professional and business services (0.5%); local government (0.4%); accommodation and food services (0.4%); and retail trade (0.3%). Continue reading

Why Did I Receive a 1099-G Tax Form?

The article was updated January 12, 2023.

Why did I get a 1099-G tax form from the Idaho Department of Labor?

A 1099-G form is a summary of your unemployment insurance benefit payments. You were mailed this form if you collected or repaid benefits the prior year. The 1099-G form shows you the total taxable amount on the benefits you were paid in that calendar year.

Are unemployment insurance benefits taxable as income?

Yes, unemployment insurance benefits are taxable. Benefit payments are reported to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

Are unemployment benefits provided through the CARES Act taxable as income?  

Yes, CARES Act benefits are taxable income. You will owe taxes on these benefits to the IRS and Idaho. For more details, visit the Idaho Tax Commission website at

Can I access my 1099-G information online?

Yes. Your IRS 1099-G information will be available online by Jan. 31 at

To view your Form 1099-G:

  1. Sign into your account with This is a secure identity verification process that makes sure you’re you. Everyone who files for unemployment benefits online must log in with
  2. Click on the HISTORY tab.
  3. Click the Details link in the 1099-G reporting tile.
  4. Open the 1099-G Doc link for the year.

I collected or repaid unemployment insurance benefits and have not received my 1099-G tax form yet. Where is it?

The department mails 1099-G forms at the end of January to the address on your Claimant Portal account. If you move and do not update your address, the U.S. Post Office may return a Form 1099-G as undeliverable.

You must make sure the Idaho Department of Labor has your most recent and correct address. If your address has changed:

  1. Log into your Claimant Portal account.
  2. Click the ACCOUNT tab.
  3. Click the Edit Profile link.
  4. Check and update your Address Information if necessary.

You can also download your 1099-G form online through your Claimant Portal.


  1. If you don’t update your mailing address, your 1099-G tax form could go to the wrong address. This would put your identity at risk! Your 1099-G includes your entire Social Security number, as required by the IRS.
  2. DO NOT print your 1099-G on a public printer. Continue reading

Employer Online Seminar Jan. 26 Focuses on Discrimination in the Workplace


For Immediate Release: Jan. 19, 2022
Media Contact:

Southeastern Idaho employers are invited to attend a free Zoom seminar Jan. 26 for a discussion about discrimination in the workplace and related topics. The seminar runs from 9-10 a.m.

Rick Rhodes and Carmen Barney, senior civil rights investigators with the Idaho Human Rights Commission, will discuss types of discrimination complaints, filing and responding to claims, the mediation and resolution process and trends in state and federal anti-discrimination laws.

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Explaining Idaho’s UI Tax System – Claimants and Benefits

Idaho’s unemployment insurance (UI) program is generally like any other insurance program. It has the same basic components – an intake of funds from insured entities that go into a pooled reserve from which pre-established, eligible losses some experience are covered (Grollier, 2003). Where it differs is it is government run and the source of funds is taxes on employers pooled into a regulated trust fund, with the output the replacement of partial wages for eligible workers.

Though the basic components are similar, this straightforward comparison is too simplistic for the complex UI machine. Explaining how modern cars work by describing the basic components of an engine combusting gasoline to make wheels turn around and around does not really provide enough insight into the inner workings of the car to understand how it works. There is more to a car’s operation and to make it is easier understand, it’s useful to focus in on one aspect at a time. For our overview of the UI program we will take the same approach and focus on benefits and claimants.

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Idaho Employment Growth Projected to Continue Through 2023

Idaho’s robust labor market is expected to continue in the short term, according to new projections from the Idaho Department of Labor. Throughout 2020 and 2021, Idaho demonstrated consistent labor market resilience, becoming one of the first states to recover its job losses from the COVID-19 pandemic, and ranking – along with Utah – far ahead of all other states in post-pandemic job growth.

This growth is expected to persist through 2023 as in-migration and a growing demand for services continue to support Idaho’s economic strength.

The department’s newest short term projections forecast roughly 34,000 new jobs to be added in the state through 2023 for a growth rate of 2.1% per year. While almost all Idaho industries are projected to see job gains, rapid growth is expected in industries tied to high in-migration levels, such as construction and sectors still recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Construction is projected to add 3,000 new jobs for an annual growth rate of 2.7% as demand for new housing remains high. The fastest projected growth rate, however, is in leisure and hospitality, forecasted to grow at 3.7% annually. This sector, which includes hotels and restaurants, was slower to recover from COVID-19 and therefore has room to re-add jobs lost in 2020.

Short-term job growth in Idaho tableSource: Idaho Department of Labor

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Around Idaho: Economic Activity in November and December 2021

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
Eastern Idaho


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


  • October’s unemployment rate reported 3,921 unemployed individuals in northern IdahoTable: Number of job postings in northern Idaho by county 2019, 2020, 2021 while the analytics company Burning Glass reported 2,110 online job postings. Although the number of potential job seekers exceeding job postings could be a sign that the labor shortage may be on the way to being resolved, that does not mean the job descriptions align with the qualifications and education of those seeking employment.
  • The region’s civilian labor force grew by 4.4% from pre-pandemic levels and includes those working and those seeking work. A percentage of those migrating to Idaho are bringing their remote jobs with them and potentially a larger paycheck than the same job pays in Idaho. This is good news to those Idaho businesses depending on local consumers, but also can fuel the affordable housing woes. Source: Burning Glass and Idaho Department of Labor

Bonner County

  • Schweitzer opened its ski hill to pass holders with limited runs open the day after Thanksgiving. Source: KHQ

Boundary County

  • The Kootenai tribe announced it will develop a travel center with an 8,660-square-foot convenience store, gas and diesel fuel stations, truck parking and a Sonic restaurant along U.S. Highway 95. Construction will begin in spring 2022. Source: Coeur d’Alene Press

Kootenai County

  • Crisis Standards of Care were ended in the Panhandle Health District after being in effect since early September. The deactivation of crisis standards will allow hospitals around northern Idaho to resume scheduling surgeries and other procedures which were previously postponed to maximize space and staff available for COVID-19 patients. Source: Coeur d’Alene Press
  • Construction is underway on the Ross Point recreation area on the Spokane River. Work, which is expected to be completed in June, will include the construction of docks, parking, pedestrian areas and recreational facilities, and it will greatly increase general access to the Spokane River shoreline. Source: Coeur d’Alene Press
  • The Post Falls Wal-Mart closed its doors for two days to conduct deep cleaning and maintenance. Source: Coeur d’Alene Press

Shoshone County

  • City Limits Brew Pub in Wallace is October’s Idaho Small Business of the Month. U.S. Sen. James Risch highlighted the quality of service, food and beer at City Limits in his announcement. The company also operates an RV park adjacent to the brewpub. Source: Shoshone News Press
  • Silver Mountain opened its bunny and tubing hills the day after Thanksgiving. Source: Facebook page and Coeur d’Alene Press

Openings – Coeur d’Alene

  • Local Market at Atlas
  • Northwest Artists
  • Thermography Northwest
  • Breaking Bread Bistro
  • Black Sheep Sporting Goods
  • Black Lodge Brewing
  • HeatPraxia
  • Faithful K9 Training
  • Linden Coffee
  • Best Life Coeur d’Alene
  • Lavender Sun
  • Malvagio’s Eatery
  • Sherman Waffle House
  • Allergy Free Air
  • Roasted Coffee Co.
  • Golf Island

Openings – Region

  • Golden Glo Coffee, Rathdrum
  • Valley Roots, Post Falls
  • Prairie Xpress, Hayden

Other Openings

  • Allergy Free Air opened a new office in downtown Coeur d’Alene. The company says it filters out all allergens and pollution of a home through a gallon of water to provide a healthier lifestyle. Source: Coeur d’Alene Press
  • Roasted Coffee Co. opened an espresso, ice cream and bakery shop in Coeur d’Alene. This is the second location, originating in Post Falls. Source: Coeur d’Alene Press
  • HeatPraxia Saunas is opening in Coeur d’Alene. Source: Coeur d’Alene Press


  • Locked & Loaded Storage of Post Falls is closing after 15 years due to annexation requirements by the city of Post Falls and Kootenai County. Source: Coeur d’Alene Press
  • US Bank announced it will shut down its Wallace location, and most employees will be laid off. It is the only bank in the city. Residents are rallying to dissuade US Bank from closing and/or find a replacement institution. The bank building is centrally located, has the only ATM and has residential living space on its upper floors. Source: Shoshone News Press, regional economist
(208) 332-3570 ext. 3639 and, regional economist
(208) 457-8789 ext. 4451

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Idaho’s Center of Population Continues Westward Shift

Once a decade, the U.S. Census Bureau releases estimates of the U.S. center of population, a common practice since 1790. The bureau defines the center of population as a balance point — the point at where an imaginary, flat, weightless and rigid map of that area would balance perfectly if each person was assigned the same specific weight.

The center of population is one of several measures that are useful for visualizing changes in population over time. The location and distance of the center of the population, relative to some point such as the geographic center or previous center of the population, indicate the aggregate magnitude and direction of the population growth. Continue reading