Category Archives: Employment News

Coronavirus Stymies Efforts to Count Every Idahoan in the 2020 Census

Note: Though the Census Bureau extended the deadline for counting everyone in the U.S. by two weeks because of disruptions caused by the coronavirus, on April 14, the White House asked to extend the deadline for another 120 days. Congress will need to vote on the request for it to take effect.

Since we reported in February why it’s important to count every Idaho resident in the 2020 Census, the social isolation required to fight the coronavirus has made that task much more difficult. Across the state, community leaders are trying to encourage all residents to respond to the Census. They had planned to hold public meetings, meet with individuals from groups mostly likely to respond, and reach out to dispersed college students not living at home to ensure they would be counted to their hometowns.

The U.S. Census Bureau estimates that the 2010 Census undercounted Idaho residents by 31,000. Each of those uncounted individuals cost Idaho’s state and local governments an estimated $2,100 in federal aid over 10 years.

Last year, tribes, cities, counties and nonprofit organizations throughout Idaho formed Complete Census Committees to mobilize historically hard-to-count groups to respond to the 2020 Census. Gov. Brad Little established a statewide committee last year to ensure Idaho would achieve a fair, accurate and complete Census count, with special emphasis on enumerating members of historically undercounted population groups. These committees developed strategies for getting the word out about the importance and ease of answering the census questions. By early March, the peak of their mobilization efforts, coronavirus concerns forced an end to the planned gatherings.

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Regional COVID-19 Pandemic Weekly Update – April 17, 2020

The COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic has created unprecedented disruptions to the economy. Each week in March brought news and developments that were historic and overshadowed the previous week’s developments. It has been impossible to keep up with the magnitude and volume of the economic impact affecting Idaho and its regions.

To document this event in Idaho, and the changes our state is experiencing from week to week, the Idaho Department of Labor is providing a weekly update. Pertinent events and data as it becomes available will be provided for each region in Idaho, the state as a whole and the context of the national economy.

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Regional COVID-19 Pandemic Weekly Update – April 9, 2020

The COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic has created unprecedented disruptions to the economy. Each week in March brought news and developments that were historic and overshadowed the previous week’s developments. It has been impossible to keep up with the magnitude and volume of the economic impact affecting Idaho and its regions.

To document this event in Idaho, and the changes our state is experiencing from week to week, the Idaho Department of Labor is providing a weekly update. Pertinent events and data as it becomes available will be provided for each region in Idaho, the state as a whole and the context of the national economy.

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New Federal Policies and Programs to Help Shore Up COVID-19 Economy

CARES Act Summary – COVID-19 Federal Rescue Bill
Federal Monetary Policy Response to COVID-19

The Federal Reserve announced a variety of new lending initiatives aimed at injecting $2.3 trillion of financing for businesses as well as state and local governments. The new stimulus will include lending to governments as well as increased purchases of corporate bonds, including high-yield or junk bonds. Source: Wall Street Journal

CARES Act – COVID-19 Federal Rescue Bill – Summary

Note: We are working with our partners at the U.S. Department of Labor to implement the programs in the CARES Act affecting Idaho Department of Labor customers as quickly as possible. This could take several weeks once USDOL issues the guidance to the states. Updates will be posted on Labor’s COVID-19 website,

Direct Rescue Checks to Households – All U.S. residents with adjusted gross incomes up to $75,000 — $150,000 for married couples — will receive $1,200 — or $2,400 for couples — in direct payments. Families get an additional $500 per child, and payments phase out above the $75,000 mark, disappearing altogether at $99,000.

Enhanced Unemployment Insurance (UI) Benefits – UI benefits expand in scope, duration and value. Claimants can get an extra $600 per week for up to four months. Gig economy workers are also now eligible for benefits, affecting a multidimensional expansion of unemployment benefits — more people, bigger payments, longer duration.

$500 Billion in Flexible Rescue Loans – The Treasury has discretion to allocate up to $500 in loans to failing industries, or local and state governments. An accountability committee will be set up to oversee the program, though Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin has broad power to initiate lending. Continue reading

Around Idaho: Economic Activity in February 2020

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

Kootenai County

  • The Coeur d’Alene Tribe received an Indian Housing Block Grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, worth just over $1 million. The grant will support affordable housing development in tribal communities. Source: Coeur d’Alene Press
  • Two manufacturers in Kootenai County – Advanced Thermoplastics Composites and Continuous Composites – are participating in a 10-week intensive training program with the US Air Force. The program provides special training for small manufacturers (with under 500 employers) developing structures and systems for unmanned aircraft. Source: Journal of Business
  • Six businesses in downtown Coeur d’Alene have been displaced by a building fire which led to a roof collapse. The structure fire effected Emerge Art Gallery, Cole Taylor Salon, Schmidty’s Burgers, Heart City Tattoo, Farmers Insurance Agency, and 720 Haberdashery. Source: Spokesman Review

Openings

    • Trails End Brewery in Coeur d’Alene.
    • Beauty Mafia in Coeur d’Alene.
    • Lave Vita Bella in Hayden.
    • Shiki Hibachi Sushi in Coeur d’Alene.
    • El Ranchero in Post Falls.
    • The Paint Buzz in Rathdrum.

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

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Idaho Census Data Changes Over the Decades

The 1870 Census found 14,999 people living in the Territory of Idaho. Ten years later, that grew to 32,610 people. In 1890, the year Idaho became a state, it had 88,548 residents. Its population nearly doubled by 1900 and then more than doubled to 325,594 in 1910.

Population grew more slowly in the next 10 years reaching 431,866. Despite the Depression, Idaho’s population rose to 524,873 by 1940. Over the next three decades, Idaho’s population grew an average 14 percent per decade, reaching 667,191 in 1960. Growth slowed to 7 percent in the next decade. The economic prosperity of the 1970s helped Idaho grow an impressive 32 percent, from 712, 567 to 943,935. The double-dip recession of the early 1980s hit Idaho hard, resulting in only 7 percent growth. By 1990, Idaho had more than a million residents. The next two decades brought strong growth — 29 percent to 1,293,953 people in 2000 and 21 percent to 1,567,582 by 2010.

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Census 2020 – Making Idaho Count

Across Idaho, county commissioners, mayors, tribal leaders, nonprofit representatives and other civic leaders are urging Idahoans to stand up and be counted in the 2020 Census. They are well aware of the importance of ensuring that every member in their communities. A lot depends on it.

WHY ANSWER THE CENSUS?

Political clout.
A main purpose of the census is to count how many people live in each state, which determines how many members of the U.S. House of Representatives that state has. In the neighboring state of Montana, leaders are especially concerned about counting their total population this year, because the results could give Montana a second member of the House. If Idaho’s population continues to grow at its current strong rate, it’s very likely to get a third House member 10 years from now based on the 2030 Census.

The Census numbers also are used to determine the size of legislative districts within the state. It makes sure that areas get a fair share of political representation relative to population size.

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Around Idaho: Economic Activity in January 2020

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

Kootenai County

  • Aspen Homes & Development has begun construction on a 20-unit apartment complex in Coeur d’Alene. The units will be roughly 1,200 square feet and priced around $1,400 per month. Source: Journal of Business
  • Idaho’s first “Holistic Chamber of Commerce” has opened in Post Falls. The chamber will target specifically environmentally friendly companies, ideas and products, with the self-described mission of representing “holistic professionals, practitioners, businesses and resource providers.” Source: Coeur d’Alene Press
  • Mainstream Electric, an electric, heating, cooling and plumbing company, is vacating its facility in Post Falls and moving its operations across the Washington border. The company, which employs 42 people, experienced 94 percent growth between 2015 and 2018, and has outgrown its space in northern Idaho. Source: Coeur d’Alene Press

Shoshone County

  • Hecla Mining Company and miners of the United Steelworkers Union 5114 have agreed to a new labor contract, ending a strike lasting 1,030 days. Hecla plans to bring workers back in phases and hopes to bring the Lucky Friday mine back up to full production this year. Source: Shoshone News-Press

Openings

    • Coeur Climbing in Coeur d’Alene.
    • Stillano Gelato in Coeur d’Alene.
    • Cock-A-Doodle Brew in Coeur d’Alene.
    • The Paint Buzz in Dalton Gardens.

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

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Census of Agriculture Highlights South Central Idaho’s Shifting Farm Picture

The number of farming operations and the acres of land under farm production in the U.S. peaked in 1935, trending downward since except for a slight uptick from 2012 to 2017. But in south central Idaho, the number of acres in farming is stable and even experienced some growth since the 2007 recession, according to the most recent Census of Agriculture, a survey conducted every five years by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS).

The Census of Ag is comprehensive across geographies, providing data on the nation, the 50 states and counties within each state. Data is gathered from surveys mailed to farmers and ranchers with thousands of acres and hobby farmers who only sell a couple of steers annually to friends and family.

The Census of Ag provides the only source of uniform, comprehensive, and impartial agriculture data for every county in the nation. This data is also a ‘go-to’ for those who serve farmers and rural communities including federal, state and local governments, agribusinesses, trade associations, and agricultural support companies.

The NASS definition of a farm is any place from which $1,000 or more of agricultural products were produced and sold, or normally would have been sold, during the census year. This threshold is unchanged since 1975.

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Governor’s Task Force Makes Recommendations to Improve Idaho’s Broadband Access

Establishing a state broadband office, updating the state plan and formalizing installment policies for efficiency are several recommendations made by the Governor’s Broadband Access Task Force.

The task force, created by a Governor’s Executive Order in May, was assigned to research and offer solutions to improve broadband reliability, connectivity and service levels across Idaho.

In rural communities throughout Idaho, expanding access to broadband is a high priority for economic developers. High-speed Internet has become such a standard part of doing business that lack of access limits local businesses’ ability to expand, find employees, find suppliers, train their workers and market their products.

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