Around Idaho: Economic Activity in February 2021

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

Region

  • The Panhandle Health District board voted by a 4-3 decision to extend the mask mandate for all five northern counties. The mandate will now remain in effect until the next board meeting, currently scheduled for April 22. Source: KREM

Kootenai County

  • Housing inventories in Kootenai County continue to drop due to high demand and aggressive offers by out-of-state buyers looking to move to northern Idaho. Inventory of homes below $1 million fell to only 27 in early February, with median prices up more than 30% from 2020. Source: Spokesman Review
  • Community Network Libraries, which have been closed since November due to COVID-19, have reopened with social distancing and occupancy regulations in effect. Source: Coeur d’ Alene Press
  • Dollar Fulfillment, a Hayden based e-commerce fulfillment company, has purchased several acres in the Post Falls Bighorn industrial park and is planning a future expansion there. Source: Journal of Business
  • Heritage Health is now partnering with the Kroc Center in Coeur d’Alene to distribute COVID-19 vaccines. Source: Coeur d’ Alene Press

Openings

  • Leavitt Works Gunsmithing in Hayden
  • Westside Pizza in Coeur d’Alene
  • Maverick Gas Station in Post Falls
  • Timberlane Trading Company in Coeur d’Alene

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

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Dearth of Skilled Workers Continues to Plague Employers

Despite the amount of unemployment created by the pandemic, the scarcity of skilled workers is growing more intense. Some industries have suffered more than others, however for people who are unemployed or pondering a transition to a skilled job with more security and higher pay – or need funding support for training – it’s a job seeker’s market.

A Divergence of Industries

Idaho and the nation were experiencing one of the longest periods of expansion in history prior to 2020. Finding skilled workers available to fill jobs had been a challenge for several years. Demographics and population growth limited the number of new people available to work. Hot industries were caught between increasing demand for services from the growing economy, and not having enough available workers to fill positions for skilled or unskilled workers. Government labor and training agencies were busy using pipeline training programs and apprenticeships to connect employers with workers.

In addition to the tragic loss of life, the economic disruption caused in the United States by Covid-19 has not been the same for each industry. The large number of job losses during 2020 were most concentrated in hospitality and consumer services – industries the pandemic impacted the most. Occupations most affected by layoffs tended to pay lower-than-average wages, resulting in the emergence of what some economists have dubbed the K-Shaped Recession. Figure 1 attempts to demonstrate this divergence of experience by lining out national wage experience into three categories or terciles.

Workers earning less than $16 per hour have endured more unemployment during the pandemic than occupations paying more $16 or more.

Figure 1: U.S. Job Losses by Wage Tercile

Source: Economic Policy Institute

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Idaho’s January Unemployment Rate Down to 3.4%

NEWS RELEASE

For Immediate Release: March 15, 2021
Media Contacts: Craig Shaul, craig.shaul@labor.idaho.gov, or Karen Jarboe Singletary, karen.jarboesingletary@labor.idaho.gov

Total nonfarm jobs up 1.1% over last year 

Idaho’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 3.4% in January, down slightly from a revised 3.8% rate for December, and well below April 2020’s revised historic high of 11.6%.

Revisions made to Idaho’s 2020 unemployment rate are the result of an annual benchmarking process conducted each year by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Civilian Labor Force

Idaho’s seasonally adjusted labor force went virtually unchanged in January at 900,205, up 1.1% (+10,015) over its revised pre-pandemic level in March of 2020.

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Idaho Launch Connects Workers to Job Training

Many Idahoans who lost their jobs or experienced reduced hours because of the pandemic continue to need support in finding work or retooling for a new career.

Idaho Launch LogoEnter Idaho Launch, a new program designed to connect those Idahoans with funding, education and career planning resources essential for rejoining the workforce. The program’s intuitive navigation guides users to research training opportunities by industry, region or skill.

Based on a statewide survey of more than 800 Idaho employers who identified skills they need in workers, the Idaho Workforce Development Council (WDC) developed SKILL SYNC, a tool on the Idaho Launch website for job seekers to match their skills to employer needs. On the website, users can search hiring trends, discover employer needs, see regional employment snapshots, research training opportunities and apply for training funds.

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Idaho Businesses Asked to Help Set Prevailing Wages for Davis-Bacon Projects

Survey Response Deadline – Oct. 22, 2021

Idaho’s building and heavy construction businesses are being asked to help establish prevailing wage rates for their industry, as required under the Davis-Bacon and Related Acts.

The survey is not limited to federally funded construction projects and is seeking data for active building, heavy, highway and residential construction projects in all of Idaho’s metropolitan counties between Jan. 1, 2020, and Dec. 31, 2021.

The Davis Bacon and Related Acts directs the U.S. Department of Labor to set prevailing wage rates that reflect the actual wages and fringe benefits paid to construction workers in the county where the work takes place.

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Labor Department Unveils New Look for IdahoWorks Website

NEWS RELEASE

For Immediate Release: March 5, 2021
Media Contact: Darlene Carnopis, Darlene.Carnopis@labor.idaho.gov

The Idaho Department of Labor’s website to connect job seekers with employers has a new look.

IdahoWorks.gov customers will find:

  • Contemporary new design.
  • More intuitive workflows which means fewer clicks to find what you need.
  • New components for better usability ‒ easier and improved login process.
  • Improved accessibility.
  • Updated job and resume search which delivers more information at a glance to users and includes tags for wages, education and experience requirements and remote work opportunities.
  • Updated resume pages with improved navigation, clear instructions, better wizards.
  • Improved mobile-friendly design.
  • Reorganized employer registration with clear notifications and instructions, improved navigation.

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Labor Department Advises Idahoans to Watch for Identity Theft

NEWS RELEASE

For Immediate Release: March 2, 2021
Media Contact: Darlene Carnopis, Darlene.carnopis@labor.idaho.gov or Georgia Smith, Georgia.Smith@labor.idaho.gov

The Idaho Department of Labor is reminding people to be alert for identity theft related to unemployment insurance claims.

Many individuals have had their personal information compromised, hacked or breached by fraudsters in a large-scale nationwide scam involving phony unemployment benefits claims. If someone has applied for benefits using your personal information, it may have been stolen and misused by fraudsters for unemployment benefits. The Labor unemployment insurance system has not been hacked, nor subject to a data breach.

If you are notified by the Labor Department that a claim has been filed under your name when you did not file the claim, disregard the letter or email and do not click on the link in the email.

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Around Idaho: Economic Activity in January 2021

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 Idaho
Eastern Idaho

NORTHERN IDAHO – Benewah, Bonner, Boundary, Kootenai & Shoshone counties

Kootenai County

  • The Idaho Division of Veteran Services plans to proceed with construction of a 64-room home for veterans in Post Falls. The 83,000-square-foot skilled nursing facility is slated for completion in 2022. It will be Idaho’s fourth veterans home and the first in northern Idaho. Source: Journal of Business
  • Redevelopment of the former Atlas Mill site in Coeur d’Alene is underway, with the first phase now scheduled for the first half of 2021 to include a mix of housing. The first development phase includes 24 townhomes, 54 single family homes and 93 multifamily units along with a mix of retail and office space. Altogether, this first phase of construction will use four of the Atlas Mill site’s 13 development plats. Source: Journal of Business
  • Kenworth Trucks is planning to build a new facility in Post Falls to offer parts, sales, service and leasing. Source: Coeur d’Alene Press

Openings
Post Falls

  • Maverick Gas Station
  • Neighbors-N-Need
  • Olive’s Pastry
  • Dirt Kart

Coeur d’Alene

  • Linden Coffee Company
  • Panhandle Cone & Coffee
  • Once Upon A Fairytale
  • TK Lighting Design
  • Ziply Fiber Services
  • Becky’s Sewing Center
  • Ventura Stone

Dalton Gardens

  • SuperSprings International

Sam.Wolkenhauer@labor.idaho.gov, regional economist
Idaho Department of Labor
(208) 457-8789 ext 4451
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Idaho Rebound Continues as One of Fastest in Country

December’s economic data showed that Idaho continued to progress in what has become one of the fastest economic recoveries in the country, following the economic shock of the COVID pandemic in the spring months of 2020. Idaho’s nonfarm jobs continued their recovery and are now slightly above the breakeven point for the year, with total nonfarm jobs now exceeding the totals reached in December 2019.

Nonfarm Jobs

Idaho’s total nonfarm jobs grew by 4,900 (0.6%) to 773,700 for December 2020. Substantial gains in trade, transportation and utilities (+2,400) as well as leisure and hospitality (+1,800) drove the increases, although most of Idaho’s major sectors enjoyed gains in December.

Job Growth Chart

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Labor Department Provides Labor Law Posters for Free

NEWS RELEASE

For Immediate Release: Feb. 3, 2021
Media Contact: Darlene Carnopis, Darlene.carnopis@labor.idaho.gov

Idaho businesses are again being solicited by private companies to pay for required labor law posters that the Idaho Department of Labor provides online for free.

Employers are encouraged to place the legally mandated posters on safety, wages and discrimination in the workplace where they can easily be seen by employees.

A complete package of all the posters Idaho businesses are required to display can be downloaded for free from the Labor Department website.

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