Around Idaho: Economic Activity, July 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
Southeastern
Eastern Idaho

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

Region

  • Labor demand in northern Idaho remains robust, with elevated levels of unfilled jobs. All told, there were 2,262 job postings in northern Idaho in July 2023, according to data from the Conference Board, of which 1,907 were posted in Kootenai County. The most in-demand occupation was registered nurses, followed by freight and stock laborers.

Table: Toop 10 occuptions by job postings in northern Idaho July 2023

 Kootenai County

  • The Post Falls Planning and Zoning Commission approved a proposed subdivision plan for a single family development. The 74-acre Montrose development will include 465 single-family homes. Source: Coeur d’Alene Press
  • North Idaho College (NIC) will retain its accreditation but will remain under a sanction after a decision was reached by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities. The decision by the accrediting agency will extend NIC’s sanction for one additional year, after which a reevaluation will be made. This decision allows NIC to continue operations for an additional year while it re-attains compliance. Source: Coeur d’Alene Press
  • Kootenai County is evaluating a proposal to rezone 25,000 acres of land on the Coeur d’Alene Tribe’s reservation. The proposal would rezone approximately 3% of the county’s land area from rural to agricultural. The main effect of the rezone would be to prohibit subdivisions, preserving the land’s rural character. Roughly half of the area in the proposal is owned by the Coeur d’Alene Tribe. Source: Coeur d’Alene Press

Openings

Coeur d’Alene

  • Revival Tea Company
  • Pure Renewal Spa and Beauty

Dalton

  • Spark Med Spa

Hayden

  • Elevated Physical Therapy & Wellness
  • Orthopedic Physical Therapy Institute
  • The Good Seed

Post Falls

  • Anthem Pacific Homes
  • Goldenwest Credit Union
  • Shift Fitness
  • Idaho Rock Creations

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

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

Region

  • The Idaho State Police “2022 Crime in Idaho” report highlights that total Group “A” offenses were up 3% from 2021, but the crime rate decreased 4% to 4,093 per 100,000 inhabitants. In the north central region, Group “A” offenses increased 29% to 4,753 led by larceny/theft (+10% to 1,095), drug/narcotic violations (+73% to 734) and drug equipment violations (+92% to 736). Crime rates increased for Idaho, Lewis and Nez Perce counties while declining for Clearwater and Latah counties. Statewide, 488 officers (+16% over 2021) were assaulted, including 35 in north central Idaho (+84% compared with 19 in 2021).

Group “A” Offenses in Idaho

    • Crimes Against Property (e.g., robbery, burglary, larceny, theft, arson, etc.)
    • Crimes Against Society (drug/narcotic offenses, prostitution offenses, weapons law violations, etc.)
    • Crimes Against Persons (murder, rape, aggravated assault, simple assault, etc.)

Table: Group A crime rate for north central Idaho per 100,000 population

Source: Idaho State Police Crime in Idaho annual reports

  • Walla Walla Community College has expanded its Warrior Pledge program to include residents of all five north central counties (Clearwater, Idaho, Latah, Lewis and Nez Perce). The program complements other financial aid programs as a last resort for students who would otherwise be unable to attend college. With its pilot program launched in fall 2022 and funded through private donations, the Warrior Pledge program provides a possibility that a student could earn a two-year certificate or degree, with all tuition and fees covered and does not need to be repaid. Source: Walla Walla Community College
  • The Idaho Community Foundation awarded 22 educational projects totaling $294,000 throughout Idaho from the Idaho Future Fund, including three projects in north central Idaho amounting to $32,700:
    • $5,500: Kendrick School District for sheet metal fabrication equipment.
    • $20,000: Moscow School District for new high school library books.
    • $7,200: to the Reach Club toward an Elk City preschool teacher salary.
      Source: Idaho Community Foundation

Nez Perce County

  • The Idaho Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) awarded $225,000 in drinking water construction assistance to the city of Lewiston for demolition and assessment of the high reservoir that failed in January 2023. The funding requires no repayment obligation. Source: DEQ
  • The Lewiston School District and the Lewiston Education Association agreed on contracts for the 2023-2024 school year that includes a 6.5% pay increase and .25% one-time stipend for instructional and certified staff. Source: KOZE News
  • The city of Lewiston is hiring VSS International to create a design to repair 21st Street and the intersection of 5th and Bryden for $434,500. The 21st Street repair will involve using a fiber-seal method to provide a subbase. The repair would be the first of its kind in Idaho. Source: Lewiston Tribune
  • Effective July 1, Clearwater Paper is contracting with Rural Metro Fire as its new on-site fire protection vendor, replacing Medcor. A mutual aid agreement in place with Clearwater Paper, city of Lewiston and city of Clarkston will be put on hold while new contracts are being reviewed. Rural Metro Fire is actively hiring for industrial firefighters, a fire apparatus engineer and a firefighter captain in Lewiston. Source: Lewiston Tribune
  • The Nez Perce Tribe has contracted with Kenaston Corporation for construction of a $4.5 million assisted living facility adjacent to the existing Nimiipuu Health Center in Lapwai. Upon completion, the 11,800-square-foot building is expected to have 16 beds. Source: Nez Perce Tribe, Lewiston Tribune
  • A Lewiston building permit was issued to Courtyard by Marriott hotel for a four-story hotel with 117 guest rooms to be built between the Holiday Inn Express (owned by Intercontinental) and Hampton Inn (owned by Hilton). Marriott had attempted to build a Fairfield Inn and Suites hotel in the same area in 2014, but ran into water line issues, which have since been resolved. Courtyard by Marriott currently operates in three Idaho markets: downtown Boise, Meridian and Pocatello. Source: Lewiston Tribune

Idaho County

  • The Idaho Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) awarded a $1.85 million drinking water construction loan to Elk City Water and Sewer Association. Funds will go towards installation of a new tank along with reviving a secondary tank, existing tank removal and installation of new water treatment monitoring equipment. The five-year American Community Survey population for 2021 of the Elk City census-designated place was estimated at 100 and 247 for ZIP code 83525. Between 2017-2022, ZIP code 83525 averaged 50-100 jobs and 10-20 employer establishments. Source: Idaho DEQ
  • The Boys and Girls Club of the Nez Perce Tribe is opening a new clubhouse in Kamiah and currently seeking applicants for director and staff positions. Source: Nez Perce Tribe

Latah County

  • The University of Idaho Kibbie-ASUI Activity Center will be renamed the P1FCU Kibbie Dome. Credit union P1FCU has paid $5 million for 10-year naming rights and will sponsor financial literacy programs for students as well as student athletes. In December 2021, P1FCU paid $2 million to Lewis-Clark State College for 10-year naming rights of the P1FCU Activity Center through Dec. 15, 2031. Source: Idaho State Board of Education, Lewiston Tribune
  • The University of Idaho has signed a one-year lease with Fairbridge Inn of Moscow to convert the hotel rooms into student housing for the 2023-2024 school year. The site will be temporarily renamed North Campus Communities and will provide housing for approximately 200 returning students. Source: Lewiston Tribune
  • Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories (SEL) hosted its ribbon cutting ceremony to commemorate the opening of the 162,000-square-foot Schwartz Campus printed circuit board facility in Moscow. This facility allows SEL to produce its own circuit boards for its electric grid control devices that are assembled in Lewiston and Pullman, Washington, and currently employs 50-60 workers. Source: Big Country News
  • Operating as an independent glass company in Moscow since 1975, Norm’s Custom Glass has been acquired by Forged Construction. Source: Norm’s Custom Glass

Clearwater County

  • The Orofino Municipal Airport’s runways, taxiway and truck aprons are being repaved over a 20-day period followed by a 30-day cure time. The airport has recently installed new webcams and a weather station to allow pilots to assess current conditions and increase safety for landing and take-offs during inclement weather. Source: Clearwater Tribune

Lewis County

  • The Nez Perce tribe has contracted with Kenaston Corporation for a $2.2 million pre-construction project to convert the former Freedom Fitness facility into a wellness center. Source: Nez Perce Tribe

Openings

Genesee

  • Genesee Food Center – under new ownership

Grangeville

  • Happy Tails Resort
  • Beauté Chalet
  • New preschool at Beyond the Horizon Daycare
  • Meadowlark Homes Assisted Living – under new ownership
  • Allstar Auto Glass – under new ownership
  • Seasons Restaurant – under new ownership

Juliaetta

  • 7 Ridges Holistic Health

Kendrick

  • Jo-Jo’s Kendrick Café and Spirits
  • Idaho Farm Bureau Insurance office

Lewiston

  • Essential Women’s Wellness
  • Silvercreek Realty office
  • Freedom Mobile Tire Service
  • Sage Beauty & Co
  • Lewiston Weight Loss and Wellness Spa
  • Budget Blinds store

Riggins

  • Tsunami Moto small gas engine repair

Stites

  • Southfork River Ranch Steakhouse

Closings

    • Model Home Furnishings in Lewiston
    • Rants & Raves Brewery in Moscow
    • Little Pines Playschool in Pierce
    • Open Range Good Food Truck based out of Potlatch
    • Trenary Barn wedding venue in Idaho County closing after the 2023 season

Lisa.Grigg@labor.idaho.gov, regional economist
Idaho Department of Labor
(208) 799-5000, ext. 3849

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

Housing Market – Apartments

  • Boise’s apartment pricing is slowing after several years of increasing rents. This is counter to the national trends that rose 1.72% from May to June and rose over the year by 0.5%, according to the industry group Rent.Research. Idaho’s median rent is $1,633 down 6.2% from a year earlier and up over the month by 1.06%. The inventory continues to grow as multi-family properties complete construction and open for leasing across Boise, Meridian and Canyon County. The increased supply is likely to bring the price down and with too much supply could increase vacancy rates as shown in the most recent month of June at almost 10% compared to 4% six years prior. Source: ApartmentList, Rent.Research and Idaho Statesman

Chart: Idaoh apartment vacancy rates, 2017-2023

Single Family Homes

  • The inventory of homes available for sale has fallen off with the continued rise of interest rates for home financing. The monthly cost of an apartment is more affordable by a greater gap due to the high cost of housing and the high cost of financing. It is estimated that a median priced home in Ada County would carry a monthly mortgage cost of $4,000, including impounds for insurance and property tax. This is more than double the median rent estimation. In addition, almost $40,000 is needed to cover a down payment of 5% for a conventional loan plus closing costs.

Table: Home sales data for Ada and Canyon counites June 2023

Ada County

  • Boise’s Mayor Lauren McLean has a third city council position to fill with the early departure of Holli Woodings, who announced her family is relocating to another state. Patrick Bageant announced he will not seek reelection, leaving only the existing president of the council, Jimmy Hallyburton, with tenure. He has been in his position since 2020. The new district structure approved by the Idaho Legislature for cities with populations larger than 100,000 requires representation for each district. After the next election this fall, most of Boise’s city council with its six districts will be under new leadership. Source: cityofboise.org; Idaho Press
  • Interfaith Sanctuary is renovating a former Salvation Army building for a new shelter complex. It will include a larger homeless shelter to include space for families, medical dorms and room for programs to help clients with joblessness and housing assistance. The Idaho Supreme Court upheld the organization’s conditional use permit issued by the 4th District Court in 2022.  The plan has been in the works since early 2021. Source: Idaho Press
  • The Ada County Commission approved a license for 3100 Cellars Vineyard in Eagle to serve wine on its property. The commission granted the vineyard a conditional-use permit last year for limited events. The condition acquiring approval from 75% of its neighbors, along with some other modifications was sufficient to grant the license. Source: Idaho Statesman
  • Micron Technology was the top company registering patents in Idaho for the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s Fiscal Year 2022 at a rate of three daily or 1,097. It comprised 97.6% of all the patents issued for the state of Idaho. There were 160,000 patents issued across the nation during this same period. Source: Idaho Statesman

Canyon County

  • The Idaho Department of Labor hosted a job fair at the Ukrainian Welcome Center in Nampa in July. The participating employers estimate about 300 job openings were available to about 70 job seekers who visited the booths and applied for jobs. Source: The Idaho Department of Labor
  • In-N-Out Burger applied for a permit to build at the former TGIF building in Nampa. Plans are to raze the building and construct an almost 4,000-square foot-restaurant. Source: Idaho Statesman

Openings

  • The Idaho Central Aquatic Center opened its doors this summer for swim lessons, competitive club, high school, masters and community lap swimming along with water polo, fitness opportunities and lifeguard training. The venue in southeast Boise intends to serve the entire Treasure Valley. Source: KTVB News
  • Garden City’s latest new business kiln dries and sterilizes large wood pieces and trees that can be repurposed as furniture, art, firewood or other uses. The Welhous Studio’s goal is to reduce urban wood waste. The process takes three weeks and homeowners, artists and tree services can drop off wood products to the studio. Cost is based on number of board feet and thickness of the wood. Source: Idaho Statesman
  • The Avery Brasserie and Tiner’s Alley each held soft openings in downtown Boise. The Avery is a French-inspired restaurant and Tiner’s Alley offers an English pub atmosphere. Both are located in the old Bouquet building, now named the Avery Hotel and Brasserie. The 39-room boutique hotel is accepting reservations for Sept. 1 and later. Source: Idaho Statesman
  • Zen Baja opened in the spot previously held by Naked Fins in Boise. It is owned by the same operators as Lucky Fins. It offers a menu that is a melding of tacos and sushi. Source: Idaho Statesman
  • A grand opening was held for Sunset Landing Apartments in Caldwell. The Housing Company developed the 76-unit apartment complex as an affordable housing solution, dedicated to people and families earning 60% or less of area median income. In Caldwell, median income for a one-person household is $59,795, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. At 60%, an applicant would need to show annual earnings of $39,877 or less to qualify for one of the units. Source: Idaho Capital Sun

Closures

  • Lulu’s Fine Pizza and Sushi closed its location in southeast Boise, continuing operations in its original restaurant in north Boise. Source: Idaho Statesman
  • Capital Cellars is closing its downtown Boise restaurant citing personal reasons. Source: Idaho Statesman
  • Lucky Fins is transitioning to a fine dining establishment with a Mediterranean eclectic menu. The restaurant and its patio, located on the Grove in downtown Boise, will be renovated and renamed Acero, meaning maple in Italian. The new restaurant is planned to open by the end of the year. Lucky Fins in Meridian will retain its branding and menu.  Source: Idaho Statesman
  • Rediscovered Books is closing its Caldwell location. The bookstore has been open for four years. The bookstore originally opened its doors in west Boise then moved to downtown Boise. The Boise location will continue its operations. Source: Idaho Press

Jan.Roeser@labor.idaho.gov, 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

  • Luke’s Wood River Foundation has used over $100,000 in community donations to purchase state-of-the art EKG machines for the Wood River Valley. This new machine will produce more detailed images which will improve diagnosis and management information. Source: Idaho Mountain Express
  • Mountain Rides Transportation Authority is planning on purchasing 0.75 acres of land to expand its existing facility to make room for a fleet of electric busses. Mountain Rides plans to convert its current fleet of 20 diesel busses to electric, while using grant money from the Federal Transit Administration to purchase the land and $2.45 million dollar low-no-emissions grant from the Federal Transit Authority to fund the transition. Source: Idaho Mountain Express

Jerome County

  • The Army National Guard broke ground on a Regional Readiness Center in Jerome. The center is planned to be 53,000 square feet with a 28,000-square-foot vehicle maintenance facility. The facility will n also function as an emergency response center or be rented by the public for other events. The project is estimated to cost $23 million and will take two years to complete. Source: KMVT

Twin Falls County

  • The College of Southern Idaho (CSI) has been awarded a five-year $3 million grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to educate the next generation of agricultural professionals. The grant will allow CSI to embed staff in a dozen rural high schools across the Magic Valley, where they will help students support career exploration and assist them in transitioning to postsecondary programs of study. The grant will also provide scholarship support to students interested in majoring in programs related to agriculture. The grant funding will start in fall 2023. Source: KMVT

Opening

  • Twin Blades, an axe-throwing venue in Twin Falls.

Seth.Harrington@labor.idaho.gov, regional economist
Idaho Department of Labor
(208) 735-2500 ext. 3062

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

Region

  • Labor force estimates for June 2023 from the Idaho Department of Labor’s Local Area Unemployment Statistics (LAUS) program showed employment decreased and unemployment increased in the seven-county southeastern region. Seasonally adjusted, June’s preliminary estimates show labor force participants increasing by eight, with 63 additional unemployed and 55 fewer employed. The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate held steady at 2.9 percent, 0.2 percentage points higher than it was one year prior.

Table: Southeastern Idaho labor force data, June 2023

  • In June 2023 there were 1,990 unique job postings in the southeastern Idaho labor market area, down from 2,069 the prior month and down from 2,256 the previous June. The number of competing employers posting jobs online last month was 385, down from 403 the previous month and up from 328 one year ago. The median posting duration stood at 49 days, up from 48 days in May and up from 34 days in June 2022.

Table: Southeastern Idaho top 10 occupational families by job postings

  • Healthcare practitioners and technical occupations comprised the largest occupational family by number of unique postings and was up 83% from a year ago. Management, sales and related, and transportation and material moving occupations were the next largest occupational groups but were all down year-over-year in terms of the number of postings.

Table: Southeastern Idaho top 10 industries by job postings June 2023

  • Manufacturing jumped to the top of the list of industries by job postings with 259 in June 2023, down from 263 one year prior. Retail trade came in at a close second while health care and social assistance was a more distant third, with postings down year-over-year in retail trade and up year-over-year in health care and social assistance. A majority of all job postings remained in service-producing industries.

Table: Southeastern Idaho hardest-to-fill occupational famililes June 2023

  • Lightcast’s data from the Conference Board indicates that the hardest-to-fill jobs were in construction and extraction along with architecture and engineering occupations with a median 54-day posting duration for each. Office and administrative support as well as production occupations were next with 51 days median posting duration. Median posting duration was up in nearly all occupational families.
  • The snow-filled winter and wet spring have helped pull southeastern Idaho out of a multi-year drought, and the three-month outlook is forecasted to remain drought-free. However, the arrival of El Niño has brought high summer temperatures and the near-term outlook is for continued above-normal temperatures. Source: U.S. Drought Monitor
  • The warm temperatures and low precipitation have begun to fuel wildfires this season with firefighters containing fires near Downey as well as on the Fort Hall Reservation. Source: Idaho State Journal
  • The Idaho Transportation Department held an open house at the Shoshone-Bannock Convention Center in Fort Hall to discuss plans for widening Interstate 15 between the Northgate Parkway Interchange and just north of the Fort Hall Interchange. This project is part of a multi-year planning process to improve I-15 between Pocatello and Idaho Falls and is divided into several separate sub-projects. Source: KIFI Local News 8

Bannock County

  • A Utah-based developer broke ground on a new 200-unit apartment complex in Chubbuck. Once completed, the 10-acre site will include a clubhouse-office building, garage units, a heated pool, pickle ball court and a playground. Source: Idaho State Journal
  • The former Travelodge Hotel in Chubbuck came under new ownership and will be converted into a Motel 6. Renovations to the hotel, including new furniture and upgrades to the lobby as well as ballroom, will be completed within the next year. The Utah-based business partners additionally own the La Quinta Inn & Suites in Pocatello. Source: Idaho State Journal
  • Bannock County and the city of McCammon signed an agreement to locate advanced life support providers in the new McCammon Fire Station to improve service times for residents in the southern parts of the county. Bannock County used $1 million from American Rescue Plan Act to fund the plan. Source: Idaho State Journal
  • Family Fun Center Extreme Rush broke ground on its 60,000-square-foot facility near Chubbuck City Hall and plans to open by December. Once completed, the business will offer arcades, escape rooms, mini golf, gel blasters and indoor go-karts. Source: Idaho State Journal
  • Oregon-based chain Dutch Bros. plans to open a location off Yellowstone Avenue on Pocatello’s northside. A building permit has not yet been issued and a prospective business opening date has not been announced. Source: Idaho State Journal

Caribou County

  • A private contractor has been working on the Chesterfield Reservoir spillway after a potential collapse due to flooding was averted in June. The Idaho Department of Water Resources. provided technical assistance. Source: Caribou County Sun
  • Caribou County Commissioners approved a new ordinance that amends the minor land division ordinance to prevent clustering of homes and urban sprawl in unsuitable areas. Source: Caribou County Sun

Franklin County

  • Electric power company PacifiCorp began a feasibility study on a potential second reservoir in the Oneida Narrows Reservoir area northeast of Preston as well as one in nearby Box Elder County in Utah. The plan, currently, is for a second reservoir and pumped hydroelectric energy storage system. If the project moves forward, it would be several years away from completion. Source: Idaho State Journal

Power County

  • The Falls Irrigation District and the Bonneville Power Administration announced findings of a recent study into efficiency gains from a planned $8.6 million modernization project. The study found significant energy and water savings from replacing outdated transformers, pumps and motors. The irrigation district is working on securing the necessary funding through local contributions and grants. Source: The Power County Press
  • American Falls School District announced staff changes as several of their faculty have announced they are leaving the district. Source: The Power County Press

Openings

  • Thomas Mercantile in the Swan Lake area reopened under new ownership after closing its doors in 2017. The building was purchased and renovated by Kaarin Englemann and serves as both a grocery and convenience store as well as local diner. Source: The Preston Citizen
  • A local couple have opened a new laundromat, Laundry Barn, in Historic Downtown Pocatello. Source: Idaho State Journal
  • The new Courtyard by Marriott Pocatello on the city’s east side held its grand opening. Source: Idaho State Journal
  • TruLeap Technologies, a Filer-based IT service provider, opened a computer repair and IT service business within the Pocatello-Chubbuck Chamber of Commerce building in Pocatello. Source: Idaho State Journal

Matthew.Paskash@labor.idaho.gov, regional economist
Idaho Department of Labor
(208) 236-6710 ext. 4249

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

Region

Table: June 2023 labor force data for southeastern Idaho

  • There were an estimated 3,085 job postings in the eastern Idaho region for June 2023, according to the Conference Board’s Help Wanted Online data indicator. This is an increase in postings from the revision of 1,374 (55%) the prior month and a decrease from 3,777 (-18%) year-over-year. Retail salespersons assumed the lead over registered nurses for top occupations in the region with active job postings. Tractor-trailer drivers entered the top half of in-demand occupations in June. All other occupations listed carried over from May’s top 10. Job demand, from a job postings perspective, increased since May for retail salespersons (12%), customer service reps (11%) and tractor trailer drivers (16%). Conversely, there was a decrease in postings for registered nurses (-26%), wholesale and manufacturing sales reps (-9%) and merchandise displayers (-13%).Table: Top 10 in-demand occupations by job postings in eastern Idaho, June 2023
  • Professional, scientific and technical services remain the lead industry in eastern Idaho for active job postings for June. Retail trade and manufacturing emerged as top-five job posting industries. There was an increase across the board in all industry categories of job postings, except for public administration with 24% fewer job postings. Transportation and warehousing, as well as finance and insurance dropped off the list of top industries by job postings.

Table: Top 10 industries by job postings in eastern Idaho, June 2023

  • June data from the Conference Board denotes the hardest-to-fill job postings by job title in eastern Idaho in terms of time to fill and multiple job postings. These include cashiers, truck drivers, delivery drivers and retail sales associates. Top job demand challenges in June by occupational family were business and financial operations, management and transportation/material moving. Only assistant store managers, delivery drivers and general laborers were carryovers from last month on the top 10 list of hard-to-fill job postings.

Table: Top 10 hardest-to-fill job postings in eastern Idaho, June 2023

Region

  • Due to blizzards, broken boilers, staff shortages or widespread illness during the 2022-23 school year many eastern Idaho schools closed. Fremont County School District claimed this year’s state record for most closures, with 13 caused by weather, broken pipes or power outages. Fremont and four other districts or charters had 34 total closures for snowy, cold weather. Other closures this year included the earliest closure, Aug. 23, at Idaho Falls’ Edgemont Elementary due to high temperatures and broken air conditioning. Teton County had 11 closures, West Jefferson had 10, while Island Park Charter School and Butte County each had eight. Ririe, Swan Valley Elementary and Idaho Falls Schools each had four, with Mackay and Clark County at five. Source: Idaho Education News
  • The Idaho State Police Uniform Crime Reporting Program statistics for 2022 reported eastern Idaho crime (offense) rate changes by percentage year-over-year by county The rate decreased in the following counties: Bonneville down 3.1%; Butte down 17.2%; Clark down 46%; Jefferson down 12.9%; and Madison down 2.4%. Increases were recorded in these counties: Teton up 19.4%; Custer up 31.2%; Fremont up 7.7%; and Lemhi up 68.9%. Source: Idaho State Police
  • Eastern Idaho projects are receiving a total of $26.95 million from the Inflation Reduction Act to protect and conserve wildlife habitat and recreational opportunities on public land. The $9.1 million Upper Salmon projects include replacing culverts to improve stream connectivity, restoring riparian habitat, treating invasive grasses and increasing diversity of grasses and forbs, reducing fire fuel and enhancing stands of white bark pine. The $10 million Snake River Plain project will protect native plants, remove invasive species, reduce fuel for wildfires and create climate resiliency. The $7.8 million East Idaho Rivers and Plains project is for work on the South Fork, Henry’s Fork and Main Snake River. Native plants will be restored, habitat for threatened species will be developed and connectivity for big game will be established. Source: Challis Messenger
  • Idaho National Laboratory (INL) will receive $4 million to accelerate the commercial development of nuclear energy technology, hydrogen and fuel cell technology and electricity technology. INL will use the Department of Energy’s Technology Commercialization Fund for the projects. Source: The Idaho Capital Sun
  • Yellowstone National Park hosted 454,929 recreation visits in May 2023, a 13% decrease from May 2022, which was Yellowstone National Park’s busiest May on record. So far in 2023, the park has hosted 645,646 recreation visits, down 12% from 2022. Source: Yellowstone National Park press release
  • Factory 43, east Idaho’s first makerspace opened in Idaho Falls at the Idaho Innovation Center. The makerspace is a common area where people can bring their ideas and inventions, as well as work on projects using $500,000 in communal equipment. Source: Post Register
  • The Idaho Commission on the Arts announced its Fiscal Year 2024 annual grants, totaling $726,000 to 85 organizations and schools spanning 26 communities throughout the state. Local awards go to The Art Museum of Eastern Idaho: $11,273; Burton Elementary School, Rexburg: $10,467; Idaho Falls Arts Council: $9,892; Idaho Falls Symphony: $9,777; and Swan Valley School District: $3,106. Arts production in Idaho accounts for $2.1 billion and 2.3% to the state economy and supports 20,257 jobs, 4,063 of them directly. Source: East Idaho News
  • Natural Resources Conservation Service June 2023 Water Supply Outlook Report for the region indicates the irrigation season was delayed due to rainfall. The Upper Snake River System had additional time to fill reservoirs. Despite a big May snowpack melt-off, the Heise and Henry’s Fork reservoirs are short, but continue filling. Palisades Reservoir is full. There is a predicted shortage in the Ririe Reservoir. As for river flooding, the only area to have breached the action stage was the Snake River near Heise, which has returned to normal. Source: National Resource Conservation Service

Bonneville County

  • A new fire station opened, the first since 1994, that will staff 15 personnel. The Idaho Falls Fire Department has experienced a steady increase in calls for service over the past four years, averaging 1,000 more calls per year. In 2021, it had a significant spike at 3,000 more calls, totaling 17,230. Sources: East Idaho News, City of Idaho Falls
  • Heritage Park in Idaho Falls officially opened June 28 in Idaho Falls and Idaho Falls Rotary Club helped fund the project. The park features more than 14 acres of riverfront green space, waterfalls, walking paths, natural landscaping, rock garden, trees, stream and pond. Source: Post Register
  • The Idaho Falls City Council adopted an ordinance on June 8 that aligns with state requirements on background checks for day care facility owners and child care workers. The city previously required a background check for child care employees with stricter qualifications than the state mandated. Source: Post Register
  • The Community Food Basket, a charitable food pantry, moved in to a new building in Idaho Falls on June 17, which is 13 times larger than their first location at First Presbyterian Church. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints donated the building in February. Source: Post Register
  • The Greater Idaho Falls Chamber of Commerce announced ribbon cutting and groundbreaking ceremonies at Little Art Galleries and Idaho Falls Fire Department Station #7. 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 June, the Bonneville County median home listing prices slightly increased to $464,125 and decreased from June 2022 prices (-5%). The county increased in month-over-month active home listings (9%) and decreased year-over-year (-14%). Median days on the market decreased to 30 days (-11%). New listings are up from the month prior (3%). The number of homes in inventory that reduced their listing prices in June was 118 (2%). Source: Realtor.com

Custer County

  • A trail connecting Stanley to Redfish Lake is to be completed this summer. The 4.5-mile gravel path will allow for walking, biking, horseback riding and snowmobiling in the winter. It will also be accessible to people with disabilities. Source: Boise State Public Radio

Fremont County

  • A new skateboard park will open in St. Anthony. Funds from the sale of the existing Skaters Haven skate park to the St. Anthony Work Camp, combined with grants and donations, would help cover the cost of the new skate park – which is expected to be $750,000. The city’s concept is to provide a premier park with a splash pad, pickleball courts, a playground for younger kids and a skate park. Source: Rexburg Standard Journal

Jefferson County

  • New lights have been installed at Larry Wilson Park in Rigby with funds sponsored by the city and Hot Classic Nights. The city council also approved additional power hook-ups. Source: Jefferson Star News
  • The City of Rigby approved terms and fees on a new dog boarding agreement with Mountain River Veterinary Clinic for the impoundment of animals picked up within city limits. Source: Jefferson Star News
  • For June, the Jefferson County median home listing prices decreased a negligible amount to $562,200 month-over-month but increased from June 2022 (14%). The county also increased in active home listings month-over-month (6%) and year-over-year (18%). Median days on the market increased to 44 days (26%). New listings again increased from the month prior (25%). The number of homes in inventory that reduced their listing prices in June was 60 (43%). Source: Realtor.com

Lemhi County

  • Jervois, the Australian owner of the Idaho cobalt mine, is planning a more extensive mining study at a remote site in the Salmon River Mountains, and the potential for a cobalt refinery of which there are none in the U.S. The company secured $15 million from the U.S. Department of Defense for the study. Jervois abruptly suspended operations in March because the price of cobalt tumbled. If it re-starts production, the mine would be the only primary cobalt mine in the country. Jervois has not set a firm timeline for getting the mine online but sees a scenario where operations could resume in 2024. Source: Idaho Statesman
  • Revival Gold will be resuming its core drilling tests in July at the company’s Beartrack-Arnett gold project targets in the Joss, Roman’s Trench, Haidee and Ridge areas. Beartrack-Arnett is the largest past-producing gold mine in Idaho. Source: Challis Messenger

Madison County

  • Brigham Young University-Idaho hosted the Idaho Supreme Court June 14. Justices gave students a first-hand look at how the appellate court system works in Idaho. The hearings were held and there was a Q&A for students with the Justices. The Idaho Supreme Court travels around the state to fulfill an 1890 Idaho Constitutional Mandate. Source: KIFI Local News 8
  • From May to June, Madison County median home listing prices increased to $439,350 (3%), which was an increase of 18% from June 2022. The county also increased in active home listings month-over-month (17%) and year-over-year (19%). Median days on the market increased to 49 days (21%). New listings increased from the month prior (47%). The number of homes in inventory that reduced their listing prices in June was 38 (90% increase). Source: Realtor.com

Teton County

  • PAWS of Teton Valley, previously operating as a nonprofit, signed a contract with Teton County through Sept. 30, allowing it to cover a budget shortfall of $171,820. l Without the contract, PAWS remains a nonprofit, but closes its doors to the county, which would leave law enforcement without a place to take animals. Parties involved are working on a longer-term solution. Source: Teton Valley News
  • The city of Victor released its new website with fillable forms and payment methods where businesses and citizens can more easily interact with the city. Public documents and records are also searchable with a new online document repository. Source: Teton Valley News
  • A 140-acre conservation easement near the Two Forks section of the Teton River was established through the Teton Regional Land Trust and the Gailey family. It is set aside as a refuge for wildlife and recreationists. Source: Post Register
  • For June, Teton County median home listing prices decreased to $879,375 (-1%) month-over-month but decreased year-over-year (-33%). The county increased in active home listings both month-over-month (27%) and year-over-year (22%). Median days on the market decreased to 64 days (-27%). New listings increased from the month prior (28%). The number of homes in inventory that reduced their listing prices in June was 18 (13% increase). Source: Realtor.com

Openings

  • Cheese-Rex, a new food truck serving grilled cheese sandwiches in Idaho Falls, is open. Source: East Idaho News
  • Triumph Motorcycles opened a dealership in Idaho Falls. Source: The Idaho Department of Labor
  • Idaho Motorcycle Company, a dealer that sells and rents motorcycles, is having its grand opening in Idaho Falls. Source: East Idaho News
  • Chip Cookies is a new create-your-own cookie and soda store that opened in Ammon. It’s the fourth franchise in the state. Source: The Idaho Department of Labor
  • A new dinosaur attraction, Jurassic Creek, opened June 17 at Yellowstone Bear World. A walking loop in the park features 20 interactive dinosaurs. Source: East Idaho News
  • A new tutoring establishment headquartered in Arizona, Strongmind, is opening in Rexburg. Source: the Idaho Department of Labor
  • A snack shop-styled sandwich trailer called Otto’s opened south of Victor at Grand Teton Brewery. Source: Teton Valley News

Ryan.Whitesides@labor.idaho.gov, 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.