As with the rest of the nation, accurately estimating the size of the gig economy in Idaho remains a challenge. While measures such as part-time employment and self-employment show unimpressive growth trends, other indicators like the growth of staffing agencies and nonemployer establishments tell a different and perhaps more believable story – the gig economy in Idaho is alive and growing.
What is a gig?
The word “gig” spontaneously invokes images of bar bands, freelance writers, Uber drivers and TaskRabbit workers. A common thread with these workers is that work is on-demand and oftentimes uncertain. The formal definition of a gig, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, is “a single project or task for which a worker is hired, often through a digital marketplace, to work on demand.”
Not only can gigs vary in frequency, duration and skill level, the gig worker can have many faces as well. One gig worker could be self-employed with one or multiple gigs forming the bulk of his/her income; another could be a part-time worker using gigs to supplement traditional employment. These variances are part of the difficulties faced in estimating the size of the gig economy and workforce.
Proxy datasets used to represent the gig economy capitalize on some of the typical elements of gig work namely that gig workers are often part-time, contingent workers and are self-employed. These datasets are imperfect indicators that offer only a glimpse of this gig economy. The following are some of these indicators.
CDA 2030 has contracted with a Chicago-based consulting firm to conduct a market analysis and feasibility study for a potential performing arts and events center in Coeur d’Alene. The study is being jointly funded by CDA 2030 and the city’s urban renewal agency, Ignite CDA. CDA 2030 is a community-based project created to develop a vision for a bright future for greater Coeur d’Alene. Source: Spokane Journal of Business
Coeur d’Alene’s urban renewal agency, Ignite CDA, has proposed creating a new redevelopment district. The proposal specifies a new district of 54 acres in west Coeur d’Alene along the Spokane River. Source: Spokane Journal of Business
Construction has begun on a new 47-unit apartment complex in Coeur d’Alene. The rentals, located across the street from the city library, will be marketed to middle- and upper-income tenants. Source: Spokane Journal of Business
Construction is underway on a new two story commercial building in Coeur d’Alene’s Riverstone development. The Coeur d’Alene-based Orthopedic Physical Therapy Institute will occupy the ground floor while the second floor remains available for a future tenant. Source: Spokane Journal of Business
In the summer of 2017, thousands of Idaho teens took jobs. But the percentage of teens participating in the labor force remains far below its level in earlier decades. In Idaho, just as nationwide, there’s been a long-term decline in teen participation. Does that decline matter?
Summer jobs in Idaho typically peak in July. In the past four summers, Idaho employers added an average 12,600 jobs between April and July. Only one sector usually decreases employment between April and July – education. Between 2014 and 2017, it lost an average of 8,500 jobs between those months. The sectors that typically add the most summer jobs are leisure and hospitality — restaurants, hotels and recreational facilities; federal agencies — the Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management; retail — especially gas stations, convenience stores and specialty stores serving tourists; and wholesale — especially those serving the construction, forestry and agricultural industries.
Many of those jobs are taken by teens. Between the second and third quarters of 2016, the number of 14- to 18-year-olds on Idaho payrolls grew from 18,531 to 26,069, according to the Census Bureau’s Quarterly Workforce Indicators.
Monday, Jan. 15, Idaho joins with the nation to recognize the contributions of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. to celebrate MLK / Idaho Human Rights Day. Organizations throughout Idaho are holding events and offering activities to celebrate.
MLK Day marks the recognition of the birth and life of the Baptist minister and noted civil rights leader. National legislation passed in 1994 encouraged Americans to transform the annual holiday into a day of citizen action in honor of King. Those who have the day off from work are asked to “make it a day on, not a day off” by participating in one of the many day of service activities across Idaho. All events take place Jan. 15 unless noted otherwise.
Construction has begun on a $7.3 million parking structure in downtown Coeur d’Alene. The 360-space garage is being spearheaded by the city’s urban renewal agency, Ignite CDA, which notes that constrained parking space presents a barrier to the redevelopment of many properties downtown. Source: Spokane Journal of Business
A $6 million medical building is under construction in the Riverstone development in Coeur d’Alene. North Idaho Dermatology will occupy part of the building when it is completed later in 2018. Source: Spokane Journal of Business
Kootenai Health has begun a $4.3 million renovation involving at least 17,000 square feet and three departments in its main hospital building in Coeur d’Alene. Source: Spokane Journal of Business
SmaK Plastics – a Vancouver-based manufacturer with a facility in Coeur d’Alene – announced plans to expand its northern Idaho workforce. SmaK currently employs 18 people in its Coeur d’Alene facility, but plans to expand to roughly 40 by the second quarter of 2018. Source: Spokane Journal of Business
The agricultural sector in Idaho plays a major role in the state economy, contributing $3 billion – about 5 percent of the total state gross domestic product.
Idaho is ranked first in the nation in the production of potatoes and barley – the state production accounts for more than 30 percent of the national production – and ranks fourth in the nation for milk and milk cow production. Farm productivity continues to advance and exports are increasing, yet farm income has fallen over the past several years. In the face of declining profit margins, low agriculture commodity prices and a farm labor supply shortage, the farmworker demographic is undergoing a change.
Agricultural Labor Worker Types
Source: Idaho Department of Labor
Agricultural labor estimates show a stable and consistent pattern of seasonal farm employment with peaks around October each year. In 2016, average annual employment was 51,240 with a peak employment of 61,100 in October 2016. Continue reading →
The retail industry has been on a roller coaster ride over the past 25 years with a slightly negative trend line as shown in Figure 1. The housing bubble created tremendous demand for household furnishings and goods, which then plummeted with the Great Recession that caused shuttering of a handful of furniture stores and car lots in Twin Falls. Small retail businesses throughout south central Idaho suffered from the economic downturn ending in fewer local retail outlets available in rural areas.
Several area ski resorts have begun their winter seasons. Lookout Pass opened the first weekend of November, while Silver Mountain and Schweitzer opened Thanksgiving weekend. Source: Spokane Journal of Business
Water Solutions Inc. is building an office building with an attached manufacturing space in Rathdrum. The company, which sells drinking water purification units, began as a sole proprietorship in 2001 in Rathdrum and anticipates a workforce expansion commensurate with their growing business and new facilities. Source: Spokane Journal of Business
The city of Hayden issued building permits for a $13.7 million, 96-unit apartment complex. The complex is the first phase in a larger development plan by Coeur d’Alene-based Hayden Village LLC, which will eventually develop 64.4 acres in Hayden. Source: Spokane Journal of Business
Last year Idaho Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter proposed and the 2017 Idaho Legislature approved $2.5 million in general funds to be added to the Idaho Workforce Development Training Fund, a key economic growth program administered by the Idaho Department of Labor. To make sure those dollars were spent based on industry input the governor appointed an industry-based task force to make recommendations on how the money could be used to “close the gap between the training and education Idaho job seekers have and the skills that Idaho employers need.”