BNSF Railways opened its Sandpoint Junction Connector bridge nearly a year ahead of schedule and began running traffic across the bridge. The new bridge adds a second line across Lake Pend Oreille, addressing a critical transit bottleneck where multiple lines converge before crossing the lake. Source: CDA Press
A new preschool is under construction in Coeur d’Alene. Phase one construction of the Kinder Prep Learning Center is underway with a spring opening planned. The preschool will care for children ages 18 months to 5 years old. Kootenai County currently has substantial shortages of childcare availability. Source: CDA Press
A 20,000-square-foot professional building is under construction in Coeur d’Alene. The Prairie Professional building will offer suite sizes ranging from 2,200 to 10,000 square feet. The project is slated for completion in December 2023. Source: CDA Press
The city of Coeur d’Alene is exploring grant options to help pay for new mooring docks at the city’s popular Third Street docks. The current docks were installed in 2000 and have cost the city nearly $100,000 in repairs due to rotting timbers. The city Parks and Recreation Department is exploring a $500,000 project to replace the current timber docks with composite materials. Source: CDA Press
Ryan Whitesides is the new Idaho Department of Labor regional labor economist for eastern Idaho. Headquartered in Idaho Falls, Whitesides’ area includes covering Butte, Bonneville, Clark, Custer, Fremont, Lemhi, Madison, Jefferson and Teton counties.
Whitesides received his Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from Weber State University in 2002 and is returning to Idaho after living and working in Tampa Bay, Florida. He has also lived and worked in the greater New York City, Chicago and Salt Lake City metro areas.
Seth Harrington is the new Idaho Department of Labor regional labor economist for south central Idaho, covering Blaine, Camas, Cassia, Gooding, Jerome, Lincoln and Twin Falls counties. He replaces the previous economist, Bonang Seoela.
Harrington earned a Bachelor of Science degree in economics from Brigham Young University-Idaho in Rexburg last April.
He has interned with the BYU-Idaho Research and Business Development Center, the Washington State Employment Securities Department and The Indra Foundation located in Nepal. Harrington is a native of Vancouver, Washington.
Idaho’s construction industry practically doubled employment over the past 10 years from 2011-2021, growing by 94% or 28,525 more workers. This is the largest percentage growth among Idaho industry sectors.
The construction industry stalled nationally and in Idaho during the Great Recession of December 2007 to June 2009. A slow construction recovery finally kicked in after jobs bottomed out in 2011 and 2012, with just under 30,000 in statewide employment.
Construction has always been a volatile industry with seasonal swings based on weather and business cycles affected by financing, consumer confidence and the national economy. Idaho’s construction employment history in Chart 1 cites longer expansionary periods than downturns over the past 20 years. The Great Recession recovery coincides with competitive hiring among most industries contributing to a well-documented labor shortage.
Northwest Specialty Hospital has sold its facilities and property to a Milwaukee-based investment company. The hospital will now be a tenant in the buildings which it formerly owned. The hospital is physician owned and opted to sell as many of the founding providers are nearing retirement and wish to sell their shares. Source: Journal of Business
The Athol Retail Park is expanding, with a variety of new businesses planned for the growing commercial zone. New businesses include a Northwest Specialty Hospital clinic, a physical therapy office and a variety of retail and restaurant establishments. Source: Coeur d’Alene Press
Josephs’ Clinic is now open in Post Falls. The new clinic treats ear, nose, throat and allergy conditions and offers relevant outpatient procedures and surgeries. Source: Coeur d’Alene Press
North Idaho College is moving forward with its long-term expansion and renovation plans. Two openings were celebrated – including the expansion of the Meyer Health and Sciences Building and the grand opening of the new Dental Hygiene Clinic. The college’s trustees approved the purchase of additional adjacent residential property to support the college’s long-range strategic plans. Source: Coeur d’Alene Press
Demographic changes, technological development and changing global cost structures now promise to make America among the most competitive manufacturing nations in the world.
For decades, manufacturing has been viewed by many people as an industry on the decline in the United States. As the American economy shifted ever more heavily towards services, factory employment in the country has steadily deteriorated. American manufacturing employment peaked at nearly 19.5 million in 1979, and has been steadily on the decline since then, averaging around 12 million throughout the 2010s.
In addition, the past several decades saw the emergence of substantial, low cost, rival manufacturing centers around the globe – particularly in Asia.
Despite this there are indications manufacturing in America has a dynamic future. There are at least three reasons to be optimistic about the future of manufacturing in America.
1) Energy Prices
Manufacturing is a very energy-intensive economic sector. Not only are electricity demands for industrial production enormous, but natural gas and other petroleum inputs are foundational raw materials for many products. Numerous chemicals, including plastics and fertilizer, are manufactured using natural gas. In 2021, the U.S. Energy Information Agency reported industrial energy consumption was 25% greater than residential and commercial consumption combined.
A 27,000-square-foot surgical facility is being built in Hayden. The Hayden Surgery Center will provide outpatient and orthopedic surgery, physical therapy and minor emergency services. Source: Journal of Business
North Idaho College’s Dental Hygiene program opened a new community dental clinic on the college’s main campus. The clinic will offer low-cost dental cleanings while helping dental hygiene students complete their clinicals to become register hygienists. Source: Coeur d’Alene Press
The North Idaho State Fair concluded its 10-day run with a record attendance. The fair saw 168,567 guests – a 9% increase from attendance in 2021. Source: Coeur d’Alene Press
Idaho’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 2.7% in August, up 0.1 percentage points from July – the seventh consecutive month Idaho has been below 3%.
August’s labor force growth saw increases in both employed and unemployed persons. The number of Idahoans employed or looking for work grew by 4,384 people (0.5%) to 956,785. Total employment grew by 3,103 (0.3%) to 931,077 while total unemployment increased by 1,281 (5.2%) to 25,708.
Labor force participation increased by 0.1 percentage points between July and August to 62.7%. Idaho’s peak participation rate reached 71.4% in September 1998.
Idaho’s nonfarm jobs met seasonal expectations in August, showing an adjusted increase of only 200 jobs to 822,600. Industry sectors with the greatest over-the-month gains include transportation, warehousing and utilities (0.9%); arts, entertainment and recreation (0.6%); and construction (0.5%).Continue reading →
The city of Coeur d’Alene is evaluating proposals to strengthen laws against short-term rentals, including civil penalties and dedicated enforcement. The city’s general services and public works committee cites the city’s well established housing crisis and severe shortage of available for-rent and for-sale homes as the need for these proposals. The committee seeks to curb the conversion of long-term rental properties to short-term rentals to combat the housing shortage. Source: Coeur d’Alene Press
Work has begun on a major Idaho Transportation Department (ITD) project to replace and upgrade the interchange between Interstate 90 and State Highway 41 in Post Falls. The current interchange, which includes three different traffic signals and intersections, has become a major traffic bottleneck as Post Falls has grown. The interchange will be replaced by a single intersection, which ITD believes will dramatically increase efficiency. Construction will be underway in phases until the summer of 2025. Source: Idaho Transportation Department
Kootenai Health has begun work on a $40 million expansion to its Heart Center, operating rooms and Kootenai Outpatient Surgery facilities. The expansion will add 37,000 square feet to the heart center, new laboratories and more patient rooms, which will allow the hospital to provide more same-day surgeries. The project is scheduled for completion in fall 2023. Source: Coeur d’Alene Press
Part five of an explainer series on Idaho’s unemployment insurance (UI) program.
While most discussions about the unemployment insurance benefits program focus on the role as a safety net for individual workers, this is only one of three major purposes it serves. The two others include as an automatic stabilizer for the greater economy during recessions and to preserve the workforces of industries that experience wide annual swings in business due to changes in weather throughout the year.
As an economic stabilizer, unemployment benefits are an insurance policy for the entire economy during recessions or economic disruptions that affect a large number of workers like the Great Recession after the 2008 global financial collapse or shutdowns caused by the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020.
During these types of events, with a large drop in employment and a reduction in economic activity as payrolls diminish and buying is curtailed, there is a risk of a snowball effect and greater economic consequences as businesses suffer from the reduction in demand. The stabilizer effect the unemployment insurance program provides is meant to hedge against greater economic turmoil that could lead to a much deeper and long period of economic decline.