Top Idaho employer concerns revealed in inaugural survey


For Immediate Release: Sept. 5, 2023
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The supply and cost of workers and high labor turnover are among top concerns of Idaho businesses who participated in an Idaho Department of Labor survey this spring.

This inaugural Idaho business climate survey was designed to uncover significant business concerns, desired labor force skills, leadership demographics, remote work trends and future growth expectations among Idaho employers.

Data insights included:

  • 53% of establishments highlight labor supply or turnover as their top business concern.
  • 85% of the top reasons for labor turnover are employee-initiated decisions.
  • 68% of Idaho employers used employee referral networks to fill open positions while 40% advertised openings on their company website.
  • Over the past three years, 38% of surveyed employers reported employment gains.
  • More than half, or 56%, of employers expect to gain workers over the next five years.
  • Remote or hybrid work arrangements currently account for 12% of Idaho’s employed workforce.
  • Idaho workers look to be most deficient in soft skills, such as leadership, time management and teamwork.
  • Top business leadership was over-represented both by men (58%) and those who identify by race as white (87%) compared with the total resident population in Idaho.

The department’s labor economists developed the survey to obtain “real-time” data within Idaho. Broad measures of national employment data are readily available and released quickly, but statewide data, if available, often lags by as long as one to three years.

“There are aspects of Idaho’s economy that national studies and public data just don’t provide for Idaho, which includes an analysis of remote work and the demographics of Idaho’s employer leadership,” Craig Shaul, Department of Labor research analyst supervisor said.

Several state and federal initiatives were developed to help employers cope with a tight labor market, such as the expansion of Registered Apprenticeships in Idaho and across the country.

In Idaho, the LAUNCH program is helping more Idahoans get training and education for the in-demand jobs and skills needed by Idaho employers. Launch provides up to 80% of tuition and fees for Idaho residents to pursue careers in demand based on eligibility.

Although the Idaho Department of Labor conducts and releases recurring employment and wage surveys on behalf of the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, a voluntary survey to measure Idaho’s labor market directly from its employers is a new endeavor for the department. The true benefit is in the real-time insights offered to Idaho’s employers on statewide issues where accurate and timely data is scarce or not generally available.

Now that they have a benchmark for comparison, Labor officials are planning to conduct the business climate survey on an annual basis as a way to contrast and quantify the most current issues impacting Idaho businesses.

“We appreciate the businesses that responded to the survey and hope the results serve as a valuable resource for Idaho employers who participate in future studies,” Shaul said. “Higher participation rates lead to more accurate and useful data points to monitor the strengths and challenges of doing business in Idaho.”

To read the full survey results, please go to:

Department labor economists presented a summary of survey findings during a webinar that is available to view on Idaho Labor’s YouTube channel at

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The Idaho Department of Labor’s employment services programs are 100% funded by Wagner-Peyser Act grants from the U.S. Department of Labor.