Around Idaho: Economic Activity, May 2023

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


  • Labor demand in northern Idaho remains robust, with elevated levels of unfilled jobs. There were 1,937 job postings in northern Idaho in May 2023 – 1,545 in Kootenai County– according to data from the Conference Board. The most in-demand occupation by far was freight, stock, and material workers, followed by registered nurses and a variety of high-turnover and common service sector positions.
    Top 10 occupations by job posting in northern Idaho

Kootenai County

  • Farwest Steel Corp. – an Oregon-based metal supplier – is building a new facility in Post Falls. The company is planning to build a 108,500-square-foot facility which is expected to initially employ 30 people once it is finished. Farwest Steel currently operates 14 locations across seven states in the western USA. Source: Journal of Business
  • Construction is underway to expand the Athol Crossings complex along Highway 95 in Athol. New tenants will include Idaho Tractor Supply, Idaho Guns & Outdoors and a dental office. Source: Coeur d’Alene Press
  • Kootenai Health has begun the legal process of converting to a 501(c)3 nonprofit after a unanimous vote by the board of trustees. Converting to a nonprofit model will grant the hospital enhanced access to capital and new investment opportunities which are prohibited by its current hospital district status. The transition will also change the governance structure and forfeit the hospital’s taxing and eminent domain authority. Source: Coeur d’Alene Press


  • Chip Cookies (Coeur d’Alene)
  • North Idaho Archery (Coeur d’Alene)
  • Prairie Athletic Center (Post Falls)
  • Reclaimed Beauty (Post Falls)
  • HomeTown Family Chiropractic (Coeur d’Alene)
  • Ellie Mental Health (Coeur d’Alene), regional economist
Idaho Department of Labor
(208) 457-8789 ext. 4451

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


  • Megabus is partnering with Northwestern Stage Lines to operate routes to 35 cities in Idaho and Washington for the first time. Stops in north central Idaho include Moscow, Lewiston, Craigmont, Cottonwood, Grangeville, White Bird and Riggins. Source: KREM
  • Idaho’s largest four-year institutions will be raising tuition statewide for the 2023-2024 school year to offset increased employee costs for the first time since 2019. Tuition and fees at the University of Idaho will increase by 5% to $8,816, and Lewis-Clark State College (LCSC) will increase 5.6% to $7,388. Between 2019-2022, LCSC saw annual turnover of classified staff increase to 32% from 14% and professional staff turnover accelerated to 20% from 11%. Source: Moscow-Pullman Daily News
  • PotlatchDeltic, which operates timberland, lumber, plywood and real estate operations in north/north central Idaho and the southern U.S., reported the first quarter companywide timber harvests in 2023 were higher than expected due to favorable extended winter operating conditions in northern Idaho. The first quarter timber harvest in 2023 had 479k metric tons. This was 3% higher than the fourth quarter in 2022 and 22% higher than one year ago during the first quarter of 2022. The second quarter is typically the lowest quarter for timberland harvest in Idaho before increasing significantly in the third quarter. Idaho timberland harvest for PotlatchDeltic includes softwoods such as Douglas fir, grand fir and inland red cedar. Source: PotlatchDeltic
  • According to the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare, there were 70 influenza-related deaths in Idaho during the 2022-2023 season, including eight in Public Health District 2.
  • According to the U.S. Census Bureau Building Permit Survey, north central Idaho had 272 total housing units authorized for construction in 2022, made of 246 single family units (90%) and 26 multi-family units (10%). Statewide, Idaho had 18,737 new units authorized including 11,943 single family homes (64%) and 6,794 multi-family units (36%). The north central region accounts for nearly 6% of Idaho’s population, but only 1.5% of the 2022 new housing approvals. For first quarter 2023 (January-March), the Lewiston Metropolitan Statistical Area had 30 housing units authorized for single-family units (28) and multi-family units (2). The first quarter in 2022 had 37 including single-family units (35) and multi-family units (2). There were 0 in 2021and 73 in 2020. Source: The U.S. Census Bureau, Building Permits Survey

Housing Unit Authorizations

Nez Perce County

  • As a result of a failed city water reservoir in January 2023, many Lewiston residents will be asked to conserve water for outdoor uses and be prohibited from utilizing automatic irrigation sprinkler systems. This took effect on May 2. The water ban will be in place until the reservoir is fixed, which is scheduled to be completed by July 31. Source: City of Lewiston
  • Carlton Hangar Subdivision in the Lewiston Orchards will soon begin construction of 15 single family homes and 14 duplexes. The 9-acre development has streets, utilities, curbs and gutters completed. Home construction is expected to begin as soon as 90 days for buyers who are on a waiting list. Source: Lewiston Tribune, City of Lewiston
  • Snake River Adventures, which offers Hells Canyon jetboat trips and fishing charters out of Lewiston, had its Garden Creek Ranch barn burn down on May 7. Although the fire will not affect any of its scheduled tours – the barn did hold a gift shop, dining hall, and a riverview deck – it will limit the company from making stops at the barn with its guests. Source: Snake River Adventures

Idaho County

  • White Bird Bridge is being sandblasted and repainted. The work is expected to conclude in early August by crews from Royal Bridge Inc. as part of a $3 million federally funded preservation project. Source: Lewiston Tribune, Idaho Transportation Department
  • Summer ATV tourism in Elk City may be reduced as Elk Creek Station and Café, the only gas station in town, has closed with no known plans for reopening. Annual LLC renewal documents have not been filed with the Secretary of State following their expiration in January 2023. Elk City is more than 50 miles from the nearest gas station and local residents are discussing options of opening a new gas station in Elk City. Source: Lewiston Tribune
  • Mountain View School District #244 board of trustees was seeking public feedback on potentially dividing into two school districts – one that will serve areas surrounding Kooskia and one to serve Grangeville and White Bird. They are also looking for input as to which district Elk City would like to be absorbed into. Covering 7,400 square miles and a population of 15,697, Mountain View is the largest geographical school district within Idaho. Coming in second is Bruneau-Grand View at 5,200, and third is Challis at 4,000. The median is around 400 square miles. Source: Idaho County Free Press, Mountain View School District
  • The City of Cottonwood is in the process of upgrading the city park’s bathrooms, playground equipment and picnic pavilion. The $900,000 project is expected to be completed by mid-August 2023. Source: Lewiston Tribune

Latah County

  • The University of Idaho (U of I) has submitted a proposal to acquire the University of Phoenix at a cost of $550 million. The University of Phoenix has an enrollment count near 80,000 and U of I is near 11,000. The University of Phoenix focuses on online instruction. The average age of an enrolled student is 38 . The University of Phoenix is a for-profit institution owned by Apollo Global Management since 2017, but would be classified as non-profit operation, separate from the U of I once the transaction is completed. The University of Phoenix offers undergraduate, graduate and professional development programs via online and limited on-campus programs in Arizona. If approved, the transaction will likely be completed in early 2024 and U of I will establish a non-profit entity to operate the University of Phoenix as an independent institution. Source: The University of Idaho, Apollo Global Management.

Fall enrollment at UI

Lewis County

  • Kamiah Skate Park had its grand opening in early May. Source: Nez Perce Tribe
  • The city of Nezperce received a 30-year,  $1.1 million wastewater construction loan with a fixed rate of 1.5% to integrate wastewater reuse facilities. This includes installing pump stations, storage facilities and irrigation systems. Source: Daily Fly


  • Clearwater Saloon in Orofino
  • Hells Canyon Performance in White Bird, providing auto, truck, and diesel repair. Source: Idaho County Free Press
  • Valley Cheer has moved into the Lewiston Center Mall next to Rite-Aid. Source: Lewiston Tribune
  • River Valley RV Park opened in northern Lewiston with 60 spaces offering full hookups, wireless internet, garbage, a coin-operated laundry and shower facilities. Source: Lewiston Tribune
  • RPM Express Car Wash is building a new location in Moscow that will open this summer. RPM currently operates Washington locations in Pullman and Spokane. Source: RPM Express Car Wash
  • Old Navy is hiring for manager positions for a newly constructed Lewiston store, expected to open this summer. Source: Old Navy
  • Agri-Service (AGCO dealer) in Kimberly will acquire Diesel and Machine in Lewiston on July 1. There will also be Blue Mountain Agri-Support locations in Lewiston and Moscow Sept. 1. Source: Capital Press
  • Merrick & Company, an engineering/architecture/surveying firm based in Colorado has acquired Mountain Waterworks. This company has provided civil engineering water/wastewater solutions to north central public entities including the City of Lewiston, Harvard’s Hoodoo Water and Sewer District, City of Genesee, City of Troy and the City of Kooskia. Mountain Waterworks currently operates three engineering offices in Lewiston, McCall and Boise. Source: Lewiston Tribune, Mountain Waterworks


  • Bed Bath and Beyond will close all stores by June 30, including Moscow, after filing for bankruptcy. The chain currently operates four locations in Idaho: Coeur d’Alene, Idaho Falls, Meridian and Moscow., regional economist
Idaho Department of Labor
(208) 799-5000, ext. 3849

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


  • According to the Intermountain Multiple Listing Service, April’s median sales price in Ada County jumped up 7% from March 2023. The previous April median sales price was $597,166 compared with April 2023 at $517,500, a decline of 13%. The inventory of homes for sale is up in both counties, yet sales are down, most likely due to the higher interest rates from spring 2022. The days on the market have tripled from 2022 to 2023. The table shows a summary of Ada and Canyon counties’ data:

Southwestern housing chart

Ada County

  • The city of Boise approved development of new public space in its downtown core, celebrating the history of Old Boise while repurposing a surface parking lot. The Capital City Development Corporation (CCDC) will reimburse the city of Boise by $400,000 while adding public art to the space. It also agreed to reimburse the city for two additions to the C.W. Moore Park, which includes art and a barrier between the waterwheel and the sidewalk, and a concrete stamp that identifies with the park. These two projects will cost the city about $165,000 which the CCDC will reimburse. Source: Idaho Statesman
  • The city of Boise approved plans to remodel parts of the Boise Library’s main branch at an estimated cost of $655,000. The work includes the front entrance, the youth area and a fourth floor storage room for office space. A paid study was also approved to analyze how space is used throughout the library. Source: Idaho Statesman
  • The city of Boise paid out approximately $650,000 on a report researching the depth of racism in the Boise Police Department after a senior member of the force was found to publicly express white supremist views and participated in a white nationalist conference. An objective law firm from West Virginia undertook the investigation at the behest of Mayor Lauren McLean. The findings revealed the budget was insufficient to review the thousands of emails and documents involved, review the body cam footage of the officer in question, or interview more comprehensive groups. Recommendations include continued minority hiring, a recruit training program that’s rigorous and incorporates adult learning principles and more in-depth leadership and supervisory training. Source: Idaho Press
  • The Idaho Transportation Department moved out of its longtime headquarters, relocating to the former Hewlett-Packard campus. The old 44-acre site is located near downtown Boise and the Boise River. It will likely need rezoning from A-1, open space in government use. The city of Boise has a master plan for the State Street Corridor that will impact the site. Source: KTVB News
  • Marie Callender’s is remodeling space as it returns to the Treasure Valley, with a new location in Meridian. The new restaurant is a smaller version of the original Boise restaurant and will start out with an emphasis on pies, sandwiches, salads, soups and burgers. The restaurant will not have a liquor license, but beer and wine will be served. The opening is scheduled for July. Source: Idaho Statesman
  • West Ada School District failed to gain sufficient support at the polls for its $500 million levy which was set to help all 58 schools in the district. It needed a 55% majority to pass but only received 42.53% of the vote with almost 28,000 voters showing up to vote. Source: Idaho Education News
  • Boise State University has received approval to build a dorm with 450 beds. Currently, the university can offer housing to only 55% of its incoming first-year students. The six-story building is estimated to cost $70 million, up from its original estimate of $45 million. The university will now come up with a financing plan to present to the State Board in June. Source: Idaho Education News

Boise County

  • The Middle Fork of the Payette River rose to flood stage, then retreated to less threatening levels. The city park in Crouch has flooded and any recreation on the river is discouraged due to danger levels. River rafting companies will continue offering trips down the Cabarton and the Main. The Middle Fork flows into South Fork where activities are suspended until the water is less dangerous. Source: Idaho News 6
  • Bogus Basin closed its ski season after extending it for an extra three weeks. The 148 days of skiing and snowboarding made for its longest season on record. The deepest depth was measured on April 2 at 107” making it Bogus Basin’s fifth snowiest season. The resort has plans to expand its snowmaking and make several lift upgrades before the next ski season. Source:  KTVB News

Canyon County

  • Vallivue School District patrons approved  $78 million for construction of two new elementary schools and for the repair and renovation of other schools in the district. A total of 71.2% of the votes were in favor, and over 5,000 people  voted. Source: KTVB News
  • Three lanes are now open between Nampa and Caldwell on I-84. This summer, the Idaho Transportation Department will continue widening west of Franklin Road on I-84. Source: Idaho News 6

Owyhee County

  • The insurance carrier for Owyhee County hired a law firm to conduct an internal affairs investigation into the Owyhee County Sheriff’s office. Boise-based Naylor & Hales was unanimously approved by the Owyhee County Commissioners. The new sheriff has also arranged for Idaho Peace Officers Standards and Training officials to provide an ethics and professional standards class for all employees of the sheriff’s office. Source: The Owyhee Avalanche
  • Bruneau-Grandview School District leadership announced plans to retain and attract teachers with creative ideas. The school district currently owns six homes for teachers with plans to augment the housing inventory by purchasing a building in Grandview and repurposing it into an apartment complex. The school district also plans to open a day care for staff members to use while they work full time. The day care will be operational by next fall. Source: The Owyhee Avalanche
  • Marsing will host a traveling exhibit from the Smithsonian. The Idaho Humanities Council chose the destinations for the Museum on Main Street Program. Caldwell Fine Arts applied for the traveling museum to stop in Marsing at The Hub from Jan. 20  to March 2, 2024. The title of the exhibit is ‘SPARK! Places of Innovation.’ Source: The Owyhee Avalanche


  • Hayes Boutique, a women’s clothing retailer, hosted a grand opening after moving to Boise’s Hyde Park from its downtown location. The owner purchased a historic home and remodeled it to fit store needs. The downtown venue had experienced a slowdown due to construction deterring consumers. Source: Idaho Press
  • Charitable Assistance to the Community’s Homeless is dedicated to helping people find stable housing and becoming financially independent. The non-profit held a ribbon cutting ceremony as it moved back into its renovated building near Rhodes Skate Park in downtown Boise. The city of Boise funded the construction. Source: Idaho Statesman
  • St. Luke’s opened its largest Children’s Rehabilitative Clinic in Meridian, hoping to take some pressure off its waiting list of 1,400 children. There are two clinics in both the Magic Valley and the Treasure Valley that are full and cannot accept new patients. Source: Idaho News 6
  • The Marsing Chamber of Commerce hosted a ribbon cutting to celebrate the completion of Whitehouse Drive-In renovations. Source: The Owyhee Avalanche
  • Nara Ramen opened its third Boise restaurant on the southwest side of Boise offering full-service ramen noodles, sushi and appetizers. Source: Idaho Statesman
  • Orchard Park, a new branch of the Meridian Library District, opened its doors. The facility offers a sensory room that meets the needs of neurodiverse individuals. The room is quieter than the rest of the building and has fidget toys and tools to help engage people in different ways. Source: Idaho News 6
  • A ribbon cutting was held for the newest trailhead in the foothills, Hawkins Range Reserve, which totals almost 400 acres. The family sold three parcels to the city of Boise and funding from the 2015 Open Space and Clean Water Levy helped complete the trail. The trailhead is paved and located about seven miles up North Bogus Basin Road. A one-way loop will be maintained by Ridge to Rivers. Source: Idaho Press
  • A ribbon cutting was held for a national joint recruitment office for the Air Force and the Air National Guard. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, about 7% of U.S. adults have served in the military—with the estimate considerably higher back in 1980 at 18%—according to the Pew Resource Center. Source: Idaho Press


  • Whitney Commons, an affordable homeownership project, broke ground in West Boise. It is funded by LEAP Housing Trust and the Whitney Foundation, which provided the parcel of ground. The project consists of 11 homes with differing household sizes. The qualifying income is 80% or less of the area’s median income. For a two-person household, the threshold is $53,900; a three-person household is $60,650; and a four-person household tops out at $67,350. The project is scheduled for completion by the end of summer. Source: Idaho Statesman and KTVB News
  • SCHEELs, a sporting goods retailer and entertainment chain headquartered in Fargo, North Dakota, broke ground in Meridian. The 240,000-square-foot Meridian store will include a 65-foot Ferris wheel and a 16,000-gallon aquarium with completion scheduled for April 2024. The company estimates they will hire between 450-500 employees for the Meridian store. Source: and Idaho Press


  • Tuesday Mornings, a retail shop known for its hodgepodge of goods ranging from household items to imported food and drinks, to games and limited furniture offerings, is closing its stores across 25 states. Boise and Meridian stores are both shuttering — with goods and fixtures currently discounted. Source: Idaho Business Review
  • Tiki Teriyaki Burger Time closed its drive-through restaurant that featured Hawaiian food and hamburgers. The operators intend to open a food truck offering soft-serve ice cream. Source: Idaho Statesman, regional economist
Idaho Department of Labor
(208) 735-2500 ext. 3639

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

Blaine County

  • The Hailey City Council approved a final plat agreement for the first phase of a 137-unit expansion of Sweetwater subdivision. The expansion will include 57 residential units, five 10-unit condominium buildings and seven live-work units. Source: Idaho Mountain Express

Cassia County

  • A new miniature golf course broke ground in Burley, “Puttin’ Around & Stuff” is expected to open in July. Source: Times-News

Jerome County

  • The Scoular Co. has announced its $20 million plan to expand the existing feed blending facility in Jerome. This expansion will allow for two new feed blend capabilities: a “steamflaking” process which processes corn into flakes, making it easily digestible for cattle and a pellet mill, allowing the facility the ability to make feed pellets. The project starts this month and is expected to be completed in spring of next year. Source: KMVT

Lincoln County

  • A new medical clinic and ambulance bay broke ground in Shoshone. This new clinic will also bring dental care — something the community has never had. Construction is expected to start soon, with plans to be completed in one year. The U.S. Health and Human Services Administration is funding the clinic. Source: KMVT

Minidoka County

  • Advanced Biofuels, a renewable natural gas facility, is breaking ground in Heyburn. The company is using a mostly complete ethanol plant that closed before it was finished. Construction of the existing facility is beginning soon and is planned to take 18 months. Source: KMVT
  • Groundwork has started on the University of Idaho’s Idaho Center for Agriculture, Food and the Environment. Once completed, it will include the nation’s largest research dairy. Phase two of the project includes manure handling facilities and lagoons, a feed area, a maternity barn and an office building. With costs coming down, the possibility for a cross ventilated barn to house 800 – 1,200 cows is being considered. Much of the project is still being decided, but 2025 is the expected completion time. Source: KMVT

Twin Falls County

  • The Twin Falls City Council approved a contract for a new micro-transit system. The company will provide seven vehicles operating six days a week and at least 14 hours a day. The service will operate like Uber or Lyft, on demand through an app. Representatives from the company told the council they expect to have the service up and running by July 1.  Source: KMVT


  • Urgent Care of Idaho – Twin Falls, regional economist
Idaho Department of Labor
(208) 735-2500 ext. 3062

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


  • Labor force estimates for April 2023 from the Idaho Department of Labor’s Local Area Unemployment Statistics (LAUS) program showed employment and unemployment both decreasing in the seven-county southeastern region. Seasonally adjusted, April’s preliminary estimates show labor force participants decreasing by 1,216 people, with 1,133 fewer employed people and 83 fewer unemployed The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate fell to 2.5%, the same as it was one year prior.

Southeastern Idaho Seasonally Adjusted Data

  • There were 1,112 online job postings in southeastern Idaho in April 2023 according to data from the Conference Board, up from 851 the previous month and 843 in April 2022. The top 10 most common occupations by job posting included health care practitioners and support, sales and related, transportation and material moving, computer and mathematical, as well as food preparation and serving.

Top 10 Occupations by Job Posting in Southeastern Idaho

  • Health care and social assistance remained at the top of industries by largest share of job postings. Services continue to be the overall driver of job postings with health care and social assistance; retail trade; educational services; professional, scientific and technical services; as well as finance and insurance among others representing most open positions in the region. Manufacturing came in at sixth and construction at eighth.

Top 10 Industries by Job Postings in Southeastern Idaho

  • Lightcast’s data from the Conference Board indicates the hardest to fill jobs are concentrated in education, training and library occupations. Among the other occupations represented in the list are healthcare practitioners, management, architecture and engineering.

Top 10 Hardest to Fill Jobs in Southeastern Idaho

  • A snow-filled winter and wet spring helped pull southeastern Idaho out of a multi-year drought, with only a thin sliver of eastern Caribou and Bear Lake Counties being classified as abnormally dry. The three-month outlook is to remain drought-free. However the warm-up and resulting snowmelt proved to be difficult for many parts of the region, with parts of Bannock, Bear Lake and Franklin counties experiencing considerable flooding. Median streamflow forecasts this summer for the Portneuf and Bear Lake Rivers both exceed 200% of their historic levels. Source: U.S. Drought Monitor, Idaho NRCS Snow Survey Program
  • Despite the strong snowpack and spring snowmelt feeding local waterways, the lack of reservoir carry-over from past seasons alongside a recent methodological change by the Idaho Department of Water Resources in its assessment of the Eastern Snake River Aquifer may still mean water curtailments for junior water rights owners in the eastern half of the state. Those particularly at risk are local farmers and ranchers. Source: East Idaho News, Idaho State Journal, KIFI Local News 8
  • Bannock County activated a regional Emergency Operations Center to assist in addressing severe weather challenges occurring across southeastern Idaho. This follows emergency declarations by Bear Lake and Franklin counties. Source: Idaho State Journal
  • Idaho State University is set to open the Idaho Central Credit Union Bengal Alumni Center after many years of planning and work. The $11.5 million facility will feature event spaces capable of hosting several hundred participants and will replace the Magnuson Alumni House. Source: Idaho State Journal
  • Idaho State University’s Holt Arena is nearing the completion of a $14 million renovation, just in time for the 2023 football season. The renovation includes new seating, enhanced ADA accessibility and removal of ceiling insulation that was prone to fall on the area floor. Source: Idaho State Journal
  • A team of Boise State University faculty and staff, supported by the Federal Emergency Management Agency and Idaho Office of Emergency Management, will assess buildings in Bear Lake, Caribou, Franklin, and Oneida counties for risk related to earthquakes and other seismic events. The project is funded by a National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program grant and the Federal Emergency Management Administration’s Community Engagement and Risk Communication contract. The team will visually inspect more than 120 buildings in the region and provide data to local officials to help them plan future actions. Source: Caribou County Sun

Bannock County

  • Highland High School on the east bench in Pocatello experienced a large fire in April. Firefighters were able to contain and put out the blaze before it could spread to other wings of the school. The Pocatello-Chubbuck School District is assessing the structure as it works on a plan for the school. Source: Idaho State Journal
  • Local clothing retailer Rue21 in Chubbuck’s Pine Ridge Mall closed its doors. Management cited low business after the COVID-19 pandemic, an issue other local retailers and mall tenants have been facing. Source: Idaho State Journal
  • Garcia’s Mexican Restaurant on Yellowstone Avenue in Pocatello is closing its doors after two years of operation. Source: Idaho State Journal
  • A micro-mobility program was recently launched in Pocatello. Bird, a Florida-based company, is managing a fleet of electric scooters around the Gate City which are accessible by their mobile app. Source: KPVI, Idaho State Journal
  • Fadeaway Barbershop opened its doors near JC Penny in the Pine Ridge Mall. Source: Idaho State Journal
  • A Union Pacific freight train recently derailed in south Pocatello, with over a dozen cars leaving the tracks. No spills or releases of contents were reported. Source: Idaho State Journal

Bear Lake County

  • The Idaho Department of Fish and Game kept the Montpelier and Georgetown Wildlife Management Areas closed until May 15 to protect local game as they recover from the recent harsh winter. Source: KIFI Local News 8

Caribou County

  • The U.S. Bureau of Land Management and Forest Service each released their approval decision for Itafos Conda’s new Husky 1 North Dry Ridge Mine and Reclamation Plan, a phosphate mine and fertilizer plant north of Soda Springs. The approval will help retain 239 mining jobs in the area and $22 million in annual payroll for 15 more years. Source: Caribou County Sun
  • Thomas Ag Services, LLC relocated to Grace after previously being located in Preston. The company specializes in seed production and supply including cereals, seed cleaning, seed products and feed. Source: Caribou County Sun
  • The Soda Springs City Council unanimously approved a land rezone for a developer looking to build a 354-unit housing development alongside 30 trailer spaces – known as Cardinal Cove. Discussions with the developer continue as the project moves forward. Source: Caribou County Sun

Franklin County

  • The Franklin County Commissioners reviewed bids for work to be performed on the county courthouse as part of an addition and remodel of the building. Contracts were awarded to Swainston Mill & Cabinet, Hatch Flooring, and IT Specialists, with Commissioners Swainston and Burbank recusing themselves from the vote. Source: The Preston Citizen
  • The Franklin City Council approved a business license for The Pivot on S. Highway 89, a drive-through selling mixed sodas, smoothies and sweets. It is anticipated to open in the next few months. The council also approved a license for Sunflower Rose Photography, whose studio is currently in Logan, UT. Source: The Preston Citizen
  • Franklin County Medical Center held a ribbon cutting for its new two-story, 24,000-square-foot medical office building across the street from the former Willow Valley Clinic. The space will have over 36 exam rooms and offices for its doctors of family medicine, gynecology, internal medicine, obstetrics, pediatrics and walk-in care. Source: The Preston Citizen

Oneida County

  • The Malad Valley Renaissance Faire returned this month for its second year. Events and performers included jousting, magicians and live music, with multiple vendors in attendance. Source: Idaho State Journal

Power County

  • Work on the historic Gardner Hotel in American Falls continues, with the framing complete and utilities now being installed. The building is being converted into 31 one- and two-bedroom studio apartments. The contractor projects they will be finished by the end of the year. Source: Power County Press, regional economist
Idaho Department of Labor
(208) 236-6710 ext. 4249

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


East, Idaho Seasonally Adjusted Data

  • There were an estimated 1,128 job postings in the eastern Idaho region for April 2023, according to the Conference Board’s Help Wanted Online data indicator. This is an increase in postings from the revision of 912 (19%) the prior month and a decrease from 1,615 (-30%) the prior year. Registered nurses assumed the lead of top occupations in the region with active job postings. Retail salespersons and customer service reps emerged into the top half of occupations for April. A high demand for retail supervisors, tractor-trailer drivers, freight/stock/material laborers and wholesale/manufacturing reps carried over from last month. Managers, light truck delivery drivers and driver/sales workers are no longer on the list this month. Cashiers, electrical engineers and food service managers broke through as new in-demand occupations on the current list. Occupational job demand declined in April job postings for wholesale and  manufacturing reps (-23%) only. Freight/stock/material laborers saw negligible or no change in job posting demand, month-over-month. All other carry-over occupations from last month reported increases in job posting demand, including RNs (49%), retail salespersons (58%), retail supervisors (19%), customer service reps (53%) and tractor-trailer drivers (48%).

Top 10 in-demand occupations by job posting

  • Retail and trade overtook public administration for top spot of industries in eastern Idaho with active job postings. The industries in the top five remained unchanged only with shuffling position rankings since last month. With the exception of public administration, each had more postings than the month prior. Across the board there were increases in industry job postings for transportation and warehousing (54%), retail and trade (36%), healthcare and social assistance (47%), manufacturing (28%), educational services (37%), construction (25%), finance and insurance (20%), accommodation and food service (37%), and professional, scientific and technical services (10%). There were no industries that emerged as new for April job postings.

  • April data from the Conference Board denotes the hardest-to-fill job postings in eastern Idaho, in terms of time to fill. Occupations which were the hardest to fill and had multiple job postings in April included tire repairers and changers, solar sales reps, pipelayers, architects, database administrators and hairdressers/cosmetologists. Segmental pavers and tire repairers/changers remained at the top of hard-to-fill jobs. Top job demand challenges in April by occupation were construction/extraction and healthcare practitioners/technical. Solar sales reps, exercise physiologists, radiologists, neuropsychologists and hairdressers/cosmetologists were new hard-to-fill job postings reported in April. These were not previously on the top 10 list last month.

  • Idaho researchers will receive $24 million for a new research project on the impact of changes in climate, population and technology with energy and water use in Idaho. The funding comes through a $20 million five-year award from the National Science Foundation Established Program to Stimulate Competitive Research, with the state contributing an additional $4 million. Partnerships are also planned with state and federal agencies, the Center for Advanced Energy Studies, public and private utilities, Idaho National Laboratory and tribal nations. Source: Idaho Business Review
  • Natural Resources Conservation Service May 2023 Water Supply Outlook Report for Idaho indicates the snowpack compared to normal remains high even at this point in the spring. Reservoir operators have been releasing water to make room for the incoming snowmelt since early April. Uncertainty remains if the entire Upper Snake reservoir system will fill since last year’s carryover and winter baseflow were low. Sources: USDA; CBS2 News
  • Select roads in Yellowstone National Park were opened to the public in April and remain open until Nov. 1. Source: Yellowstone National Park press release
  • A public meeting was held in Idaho Falls on May 16 about the U.S. Highway 20/26 connector. Connecting the two highways will provide convenient access for motorists without having to impact the local road network and to increase mobility in the area and region. Source: Idaho Transportation Department

Bonneville County

  • May 16 bond and levy election results:
    • The Idaho Falls School District 91 plant facilities levy to build a new elementary school passed; and
    • The Bonneville School District 93 school bond to build a new elementary school in the Iona area failed.

    Source: KIFI Local News 8

  • Several new developments are in the works at Jackson Hole Junction, a mixed-use commercial development in Idaho Falls. Owners just finalized a deal with Taco Bell and Maverik to begin construction in June. Ron Sayer Nissan dealership will also relocate from another part of the city. The developers are also in negotiations for a second hotel operator in addition to the new Holiday Inn already there. Source: East Idaho News
  • After 18 months, a brick-and-mortar Italian restaurant, Mama Fla, is now closed. But it will continue as a mobile operation with two food trailers. Source: East Idaho News
  • A new mobile veterinary clinic for horses in Idaho Falls, Teton Equine Mobile Veterinary Practice, has opened. Source: East Idaho News
  • Two months in, a major construction project at Woodruff Avenue and 17th Street in Idaho Falls is having a negative impact with customers assuming the businesses are inaccessible. There were reported drops in sales at Gandolfo’s Deli (-30%) and Red Clover Herbs & Market (-90%). AutoZone, La Fonda Mexican Buffet and Austin Kade Academy also reported sales declines due to the construction road closure. Source: East Idaho News
  • Several rural counties in Idaho are set to receive a total of $26.9 million in funds from the federal Secure Rural Schools program. Bonneville County will receive about $323,200 to benefit schools and infrastructure maintenance. Funds are administered by the U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management and are distributed based on a formula that includes economic activity and timber harvest levels. Source: Idaho Press
  • Kelly Canyon ski resort is looking to collaborate with Ammon City to build a winter tubing park. The location has not been determined yet. Source: Post Register
  • Idaho Falls Luxury RV Park opening later in May, offers 59 large paved RV sites and 10 camper van spots with full hookups, a laundromat, private bathrooms, pickleball courts, a dog park and direct access to the River Walk. Source: Post Register
  • Ferguson Plumbing Supply is closing one of its Idaho Falls stores on Utah Avenue. The  Stanley Street location will remain open. There were no reported layoffs. Source: Idaho Department of Labor
  • Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center’s Behavioral Health Center in Idaho Falls has expanded its adolescent care unit by 12 beds. This brings the total number of beds to 37, which increases the capacity to serve patients as young as 12 years old by 50%. Source: East Idaho News
  • The Rotary Club of Idaho Falls donated $100,000 to Idaho Falls Parks and Recreation Department for Heritage Park, opening in June. This donation is on top of the $700,000 Rotary donated in late 2021 to support the creation of the 14-acre park along the Snake River. Source: Post Register
  • The Greater Idaho Falls Chamber of Commerce announced ribbon cutting ceremonies for Idaho Canvas Products, Croft Chiropractic and Wright Physical Therapy in May. These establishments met one of the following criteria: 1. Opened their doors within the past six months; 2. Moved to a new location due to expansion; or 3. Remodeled/expanded their current location. Source: Greater Idaho Falls Chamber of Commerce
  • For April, the Bonneville County median home listing prices decreased to $460,000 (-1.1%) and also decreased from April 2022 prices (-11.5%). The county reported a slight decrease in month-over-month active home listings (-1.3%), but a 110% increase year-over-year. Median days on the market decreased to 47 days (-4.1%). New listings are up from the month prior (25%). The amount of homes in inventory that reduced their listing prices in April was 96 (14.3%). Source:

Custer County

  • Mackay Reservoir will use $200,000 for the Bureau of Land Management healthy ecosystems restoration projects. The program is funded by the U.S. Interior Department, which awarded $125 million from infrastructure legislation to local climate resiliency and conservation projects. Source: Challis Messenger
  • Idaho is receiving just shy of $23 million this year in Secure Rural Schools funds. Custer County’s share is $1.62 million to support rural county services. Source: Challis Messenger

Fremont County

  • May 16 bond and levy election results:
    • The Freemont Ambulance override levy passed; and
    • The Island Park Auditorium District creation failed.

    Source: KIFI Local News 8

  • The Targhee Women’s Club awarded grants to Island Park EMS to buy equipment for water rescues, to support Island Park Charter School and donations to various nonprofits. Source: Post Register

Jefferson County

  • A massage clinic and medical spa, Upper Valley Retreat and Medical Spa, opened in Rigby. Source: East Idaho News
  • Changes to the Jefferson County clustering ordinance have been approved, one month after non-approval due to the exclusion of Ag-10 and R-10 Zones in March. The Jefferson County Board of Commissioners accepted amendments to the ordinance which include those zones. An Ag-10 zone requires at least 10 acres to acquire a building permit. However, if someone owned 30 acres of Ag-10 land and wanted to break off a smaller piece, they would have previously needed to break off a full 10 acres. Clustering would allow them to break off a smaller section and still get a building permit. Source: Jefferson Star News
  • The Jefferson County Board of Commissioners moved to reallocate the $160,544 public safety communications project from American Rescue Plan Act funds to the Local Assistance and Tribal Consistency Fund. The county has budgeted for equipment purchases in the Public Works department totaling $428,127. At least $300,000 is a supplement to whatever grants Mud Lake Ambulance could acquire for a new unit. There are also two projects under Community Health and Resilience, including $10,000 to the Madison Memorial Behavioral Health Wing and $100,000 to the Mud Lake Fair building. Courthouse infrastructure to complete the annex building’s basement and the expansion of the court’s offices are estimated to cost $900,000 each. Of Jefferson County’s total $5.8 million ARPA allotment, $2.4 million remains. Source: Jefferson Star News
  • A letter of intent was approved for the Lewisville Legacy Library construction add-on to the Community Center. With the help of a Facilities Improvement Grant from the Idaho Commission for Libraries, the $324,000 request will likely be increased when the grant application is submitted in June. Source: Jefferson Star News
  • For April, the Jefferson County median home listing prices increased to $550,000, a negligible increase from last month and an increase from April 2022 (1.4%). The county also reported an increase in month-over-month active home listings (2.9%), while median days on the market increased to 64 days (24%). New listings increased from the month prior (14.3%). The amount of homes in inventory that reduced their listing prices in April was 16 (33%). Source:

Lemhi County

  • Idaho is receiving just shy of $23 million this year in Secure Rural Schools funds. Lemhi County’s share is $1.44 million to support rural county services. Source: Challis Messenger

Madison County

  • Rexburg is one of 64 cities in the United States to receive part of the $21 million Thriving Community Grant awarded to “ensure disadvantaged communities adversely or disproportionately affected by environmental, climate and human health policy outcomes  have the technical tools and organizational capacity to compete for federal aid, and they deliver quality infrastructure projects that enable their communities and neighborhoods to thrive.” The city hopes the grant funds will be available to upgrade the community’s infrastructure and are paying for a part-time consultant. Source: Rexburg Standard Journal
  • A new restaurant, Tropical Smoothie Café, opened May 22 in Rexburg. Source: East Idaho News
  • Monkey Bar Storage, dba Gorgeous Garage, in Rexburg is closing the business and phasing out 35 positions by September. They are opening a location in Nampa, which will remain open and is intended to be an expansion. Source: Idaho Department of Labor
  • The city of Rexburg is partnering with Madison County for the rollout of a fiber optic network, which will have the ability to serve 12,000 to 13,000 homes. The city is still finalizing a contract with providers to connect the first group of homes to the network next month. Source: East Idaho News
  • Blue Vista Capital Management LLC announced plans for University View Rexburg, a student housing community at BYU-I in Rexburg. Source: Rexburg Standard Journal
  • Brigham Young University-Idaho spring 2023 enrollment estimates show approximately 15,000 students are living in Rexburg. This is down 23% from last semester. Total enrollment is 17,839 for campus-based students. A total of 34,912 enrolled students is approximately 12% less than last semester. Sources: BYU-Idaho press release; Rexburg Standard Journal
  • For April, Madison County median home listing prices decreased to $427,450 (-3.2%) and increased from April 2022 prices (6.9%). The county also increased in month-over-month active home listings (3.9%). Median days on the market decreased to 51 days (-17%). New listings increased substantially from the month prior (83%). There were no homes in inventory that reduced their listing prices in April. Source:

Teton County

  • For April, Teton County median home listing prices increased to $884,250 (1.3%) with a steep decrease from April 2022 (-46.1%). The county also decreased in month-over-month active home listings (-2%). Median days on the market decreased to 101 days (-39.3%). New listings have increased from the month prior (40%). The number of homes in inventory that reduced their listing prices in April was four (-33%). Source:, regional economist
Idaho Department of Labor
(208) 557-2500 ext. 3628

This Idaho Department of Labor project is 100% funded by USDOL as part of $695,785 in Workforce Information Grant funds from the Employment and Training Administration.