Idaho’s population growth has been growing fast – so quickly that the state had the No. 1 growth rate in the nation at 21.5 % from 2012-2022, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
Close to 90% of the state’s population growth stems from rapid net domestic migration into Idaho and not from Idaho residents suddenly deciding to have lots of babies. Idaho’s birth rate of 11.8 births per 1,000 population in 2021 (12th highest in the nation) was a 29% decline compared with 16.6 in 2007, fourth highest in the nation at the time). The rate remains higher than most of Idaho’s bordering neighbors, such as Oregon at 9.6 (fourth lowest), Montana at 10.2 and Washington at 10.8. Nationwide, birth rates per 1,000 population have decreased 23%, from 14.3 in 2007 to 11.0 in 2021 .
Migration is contributing to a higher number of school-age students in Idaho today than expected based on Idaho births alone but is still unable to reverse the trend that Americans in general are having significantly fewer babies than in the past.
Labor demand in northern Idaho remains robust, with elevated levels of unfilled jobs. There were 2,154 job postings in northern Idaho in August 2023, according to data from The Conference Board, of which 1,755 were posted in Kootenai County. The most in-demand occupation was registered nurses, followed by retail salespersons.
Economist Lisa Grigg says building more housing in north central Idaho could help fill crucial job openings in the area
This article originally was published in the Lewiston Tribune. It is republished here with permission.
By Elaine Williams, The Lewiston Tribune
Lisa Grigg, labor economist with the Idaho Department of Labor, poses for a photo at her desk Wednesday in Lewiston. August Frank/Tribune
Constructing more housing might help ease a labor shortage in north central Idaho driven by an aging population.
That observation comes from Lisa Grigg, an economist with the Idaho Department of Labor who is based in Lewiston.
“Our area has under-built for the past decade,” she said. “We just don’t have space for those people who are in their 20s and have a great job and are making a solid income. There’s no places for them to rent and housing prices are out of reach for most.”
Idaho’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate experienced a slight increase in July, rising from June’s rate of 2.7% to 2.8%.
July’s labor force – workers who are employed or unemployed but looking for work – increased by 1,058 people to 965,314.
Idaho’s labor force participation rate – the percentage of the non-institutionalized civilian population at least 16 years of age and older in the labor force – decreased to 62.4% in July from 62.5% in June.
Total employment decreased by 453 to 938,097 while unemployment increased by 1,511 to 27,217.
Serve Idaho recently received a $4,339,065 grant to fund the AmeriCorps programs in Idaho from 2023 to 2024.
Nearly 370 AmeriCorps members will be supporting efforts to provide communities with low-income access to health care, education and mental health services, and serving on environmental education and restoration projects throughout Idaho.
AmeriCorps members give a year of intensive service on a full-time or part-time basis. Idaho’s AmeriCorps programs are funded by the federal agency AmeriCorps through Serve Idaho, the Governor’s Commission on Service and Volunteerism. Continue reading →
Gov. Brad Little appointed nine new commissioners to the Serve Idaho Commission. They add to the existing commission of 13.
“The new commissioners bring a passion for volunteerism and AmeriCorps in their communities,” program manager Renee Bade said. “We are excited to welcome them to the commission to share their expertise in advancing service across Idaho.”
Out of all metropolitan areas in the Gem State, Lewiston has the highest median wages for skilled trade workers. Electricians and plumbers make up to $60,000 a year, where welders and HVAC technicians can make $50,000. With Lewiston’s growth – the population has increased by more than 500 residents each year since 2020 – the demand for skilled trades will also increase.
To help residents learn about these career fields, the Idaho Department of Labor is hosting a Skilled Trade Career event Thursday, Aug. 10 from 4 to 6 p.m. Attendees can explore careers in HVAC, plumbing, welding and electrical industries.
“Is the U.S, headed for a recession?” has been making headlines for some time, in part from COVID-19 pandemic fallout. Inflation has slowed, which is a positive sign, but how resilient is Idaho’s economy.
Currently, unemployment in Idaho is at 2.7%, and the monthly job reports are robust and the state has seen strong GDP growth.
The Idaho Department of Labor, will explore this data during our monthly labor market webinar on Tuesday, Aug. 8 from 11 a.m. to noon (MDT) over Zoom.