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Unearned Income, Government, Semiconductors Drive Idaho Employment

Idaho’s major economic drivers include government, construction, computer chip manufacturing, the food products cluster and unearned income from Idaho households.

In 2012, 146,000 jobs or 23.5 percent of all Idaho jobs were generated by unearned income – money the state’s households received from outside sources in pensions, Social Security, returns on investments, food stamps, welfare payments, unemployment benefits and other so-called transfer payments.

Government was the next strongest economic force, supporting nearly 16 percent of all employment both regionally and statewide.

Only a small fraction of those jobs were attributable to people commuting to work outside of Idaho.

These findings are based on an analysis using economic base theory, which determines whether economic activity generates revenue from outside the local economy or merely recirculates existing revenue.

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