Category Archives: Employment News

Interest Rates and Idaho’s Housing Market

As an era of low interest mortgage rates appears to be ending and housing prices and interest rates shift steadily higher, many homeowners may find their affordable monthly mortgage payment increasingly difficult to cover.

A prolonged post-recessionary period of low interest rates increased homebuyer purchasing power allowed home prices to rise far beyond levels household income might otherwise allow. The result is a housing market where prices are detached from household income and interest rates – rather than income – are a main driver of economic activity.

Mortgage rates were in a long slow decline prior to the 2007 – 2008 housing market crash which provoked even lower rates. For nearly 10 years afterwards, homebuyers consistently enjoyed mortgage rates well below 5 percent.1

chart of 30-year mortgage rates

Source: Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

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A Deeper Look: Idaho Job Skills by Region

What are the essential job skills of today and how prepared is Idaho’s current workforce to tackle the skill requirements of future work?

An increased emphasis on making sure employees have the skills they need today is shifting the conversation toward identifying the most relevant skills necessary for the jobs of tomorrow.

This analysis draws on information from the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Information Network (O*NET) database, a useful tool in identifying work competencies in the labor market. O*NET uses surveys of employees and occupational experts to determine the important characteristics and requirements of more than 900 occupations. Its content model identifies, among other things, the different mix of knowledge, skills and abilities required by each occupation as a standardized, measurable set of variables. This article focuses on just the skill requirements.

What are the essential job skills required in the marketplace?

Skills are broadly defined as strategies and procedures for acquiring and working with the knowledge that comes with experience and practice (Tippins & Hilton, 2010). The O*NET skills taxonomy identifies 35 skills considered necessary for a wide range of jobs and tasks. These skills are divided into basic and cross-functional skills. Basic skills describe the capacities an individual has that assist in the learning process and acquisition of knowledge. Skills such as reading comprehension, writing, active learning and critical thinking are included in this grouping. Cross-functional skills refer to competencies such as social skills, complex problem solving, technical skills, systems skills and resource management skills.

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Around Idaho: Economic Activity in January 2019

Information provided in this article 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

  • Thomas Tedder, founder and CEO of Post Falls holster manufacturer Tedder Industries, has sold a majority share in the manufacturer to a Texas-based investment group. Tedder said he would phase out of the CEO role over the following months and focus on his real estate concerns at his other company, Tedder Properties. Source: Spokane-Kootenai Journal of Business
  • Two new urban renewal districts have been proposed in the city of Rathdrum. Amid record growth, Rathdrum’s urban renewal agency has conducted eligibility studies to create two new renewal districts aimed at improving a total of 155 acres worth of lots. Currently, construction on the lots in question is blocked by gas and power lines that create “hurdles” to development, which would be remediated by the proposed renewal projects. Source: Coeur d’Alene Press
  • Kootenai County’s commissioners are preparing to revisit the controversial new building permit opt-out provisions. The provision, adopted last year, allows builders on unincorporated lots in Kootenai County to opt out of county building codes. The new board of commissioners – two of the three commissioners are newly elected – plans to revisit the opt-out provision, starting with a series of public hearings. Source: Coeur d’Alene Press
  • North Idaho College was awarded a three-year federal grant worth $675,607. It will use the funds to launch a new NIC Venture Center, which will support the college’s entrepreneurial programs. The Venture Center will feature new educational programming for entrepreneurship, as well as a rapid prototype lab for manufacturing. In 2017, NIC was named Entrepreneurial College of the Year by the National Association for Community College Entrepreneurship. Source: Coeur d’Alene Press

Openings in Coeur d’Alene

  • Terre Coffee and Bakery
  • Great Expectations Painting
  • Schwartz Law

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

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Idaho Population’s Growth Rate Tied for Fastest in Nation

Idaho’s population totaled 1.75 million as of July 2018, growing at a rate of 2.1 percent from July 2017 and tying with Nevada for the fastest growth rate in the nation.

Utah with 1.9 percent was third. Wyoming declined by 1 percent to 579,300 – one of five states to see a decline during this time.

The national average growth rate was 0.6 percent.

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Engineering Careers Among Best Paid Occupations

Interested in a career building the infrastructure or machines that are the backbone of modern technology? Or working to expand that frontier? If engineering is the career path for you, it is among the best paid occupations in the nation and Idaho compared with other occupations.

Depending on the specialization, in Idaho engineers earn a median from $32 to $57 per hour. As a group, it is among the fastest growing occupations in Idaho. The field is projected to grow by almost 10 percent from 2016 to 2026, adding 1,100 jobs with another 7,400 potential job opportunities as engineers retire or leave the occupation.

Read more about engineering on the BLS website.

Learn about other career options in JobScape.

Idaho Department of Labor

Around Idaho: Economic Activity in December 2018

Information provided in this article 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

Bonner County

  • The YMCA of the Inland Northwest acquired Sandpoint West Athletic Club, with the intent of turning the health club into a new YMCA branch. Source: Spokane Journal of Business

Kootenai County

  • The city of Coeur d’Alene moved forward with a proposal to create an urban renewal district around the Kootenai Health hospital campus. The city council expressed concern about the cramped hospital corridor and noted that without efforts to consolidate properties around Kootenai Health and creating space to allow the hospital to grow, the hospital could be forced to move. Source: Coeur d’Alene Press
  • The Idaho Transportation Department will fund a one-year study on traffic management in Kootenai County, which will examine the viability of a regional traffic management center. The Kootenai Metropolitan Planning Organization will manage the study. Source: Coeur d’Alene Press
  • The Post Falls Planning and Zoning Commission approved a special use permit for the construction of a UPS distribution facility next to single-family homes in east Post Falls. The commission approved the permit after neighbors voiced their concerns about the potential noise and traffic that the distribution center would generate. Source: Coeur d’Alene Press

Openings

  • Terre Coffee and Bakery in Coeur d’Alene

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

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Demystifying Idaho’s Unemployment Rate

Idaho’s seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate was 2.6 percent for November 2018, the most recent data available. This is the 15th consecutive month that Idaho’s rate has been at or below the low rate of 3 percent. But what does 3 percent employment mean? Three percent of what?

The answer to what the unemployment rate means and how it’s determined is best understood within the context of the numbers that are also reported with it each month. The unemployment rate is a figure that measures the unemployed segment of the labor force, which is itself a subgroup of the civilian population and one of a few terms that describe different states of people in the population and their relationship with work and the economy.

The major subgroups of the larger civilian population include the labor force, employed and unemployed. The relationship among these various groups provide the basic measures of the participation rate and unemployment rate.

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Census Bureau Releases New Data on Idaho Cities, Towns from 2013-2017

American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates

Idaho’s slight increase in the workforce, a rise in median household income, an increase in median gross rent and a decrease in the number of persons living below the poverty level are just a few of the many statistics released this week by the U.S. Census Bureau.

The Census Bureau’s 2013–2017 American Community Survey produces a rolling sample of estimates on more than 40 social, economic and housing characteristics for U.S. cities, towns, counties and other geographies, regardless of their population size. It is the only source for comprehensive data for 38 of Idaho’s 44 counties and 198 incorporated cities.

Narrative profiles offering short analytic reports on all 40 sets of data for the nation, states, counties, places and census tracts can be accessed from the U.S. Census website at https://www.census.gov/acs/www/data/data-tables-and-tools/narrative-profiles/2017/

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Around Idaho: Economic Activity in November 2018

Information provided in this article 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

Kootenai County

  • Kootenai County has started construction on a new transit center in the Riverstone development in Coeur d’Alene. The transit center will be located on a four-acre parcel, which is owned jointly by the county and the Coeur d’Alene Tribe. The center is expected to open in the summer of 2019. Source: Spokane Journal of Business
  • Construction has started on a new medical building in Hayden. The $2 million facility will house a new office of the North Idaho Eye Institute, which also has offices in Coeur d’Alene and Post Falls. Source: Spokane Journal of Business
  • The Coeur d’Alene Casino Resort Hotel has begun a $15 million renovation project, which involves an update and improvement of both the gaming and entertainment facilities at the casino. A spokesperson for the casino said the improvements would be completed by March of 2019. Source: Spokane Journal of Business

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Explore Careers that Bring Ideas from Prototype to Market

Some of the best paying and best prospective occupations in Idaho are associated with bringing ideas into reality – creating prototypes and manufacturing the product for the market.

Domingo Angeles from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics provides a national perspective on these occupations and their outlook. While Angeles uses the design and manufacture of automobiles as his example, Idaho companies engaged in the manufacturing and design of all manner of products pull together the same mix of occupations to staff the teams that put in the hard, collaborative work to bring ideas to market.

In Angeles’ article, he identified careers related to developing prototypes include software developers, graphic designers, mechanical and electrical engineers and industrial designers. Table 1 provides employment, wage, projected openings and typical education levels for each occupation on a national level.

Table 1a shows similar data for Idaho.

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