Tag Archives: Bob Fick

Job Growth Struggles in Rural Idaho

Idaho’s economic recovery through February 2015 generated 13,000 more jobs than were lost – 27 percent more, while payrolls increased  20 percent – $698 million in goods production and $1.7 billion in services.

Idaho’s recovery from the recession took hold most strongly in the Boise metropolitan area while it took two more years for the four other metro areas to see marked job growth in 2013.

Even rural communities posted job growth early on, but once the momentum shifted to the urban parts of the state in 2013, rural job growth slowed after a summer uptick in 2014.

Using average wages for 2010, Idaho’s job loss in the recession totaled $1.5 billion from goods production and $424 million from services.

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Idaho Personal Income Components Shifted From 1979 – 2013

The components of personal income in Idaho have changed since 1979 and the three recessions over the next seven years. Wages and business profits accounted for more than two-thirds of personal income in 1979. Today they combine for almost 55 percent.

Filling that void have been government transfer payments, primarily Social Security and Medicare, which rose less than 11 percent to more than 18 percent over the past 35 years.

Investment earnings have remained relatively constant at around 20 percent.

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Idaho Workers on Government Assistance Among Lowest in the U.S.

The depth of the recession and a slow early recovery nearly doubled the percentage of Idaho workers who had jobs and were still receiving government assistance through Medicaid and other programs for the low income and disabled.

In jumping from 2 percent in 2008, or about 14,400 of the 727,000 employed, to 3.6 percent in 2012, or about 25,700 of 711,000 employed, Idaho still had one of the nation’s lowest percentages of workers on welfare, even with the state’s comparatively low wages. According to the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey, Idaho ranked 40th among the states and the District of Columbia in 2012, up from 49th in 2008. Only Nevada at 1.4 percent and Virginia at 1.8 percent had lower percentages of workers on welfare in 2008.

Nationally, the percentage of workers receiving assistance rose from 3.9 percent in 2008 to 5.4 percent in 2014.

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Around Idaho: March Economic Activity

Information provided in this article has been gathered from various sources throughout the state, including 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

Statewide Economic Highlights

  • North Central Idaho’s Clearwater Economic Development Association launched its “Dream It – Do It” at its annual meeting in February. Southeastern Washington is also part of the initiative which uses materials from the Manufacturing Institute to focus on developing the next generation of manufacturing employees by encouraging greater career awareness of manufacturing. The initiative is also supported by Idaho-Lewis County Technical Education Foundation, Lewis-Clark State College, the Northwest Intermountain Manufacturers Association, the Southeast Washington Economic Development Association and Valley Vision.
  • Idaho Power Co. reported 2014 net income of $189.4 million, up from $176.7 million in 2013. Last year’s high returns will allow Idaho Power to share earnings of approximately $25 million with Idaho customers under the Idaho regulatory settlement, according to Darrel Anderson, president of the utility’s parent company. Net income in the last quarter was $34.2 million, compared with $27.4 million a year earlier.

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Change in Idaho Manufacturing Mix Significant

Over the past two decades, manufacturing with its traditionally higher-paying jobs has become a smaller and smaller component of both the national and Idaho economies.

Manufacturing in Idaho has staged a modest rebound since the end of the recession, primarily in food processing – the lowest-paying piece of the three-part manufacturing super sector. But it still remained well below its 1990 levels although in 2013 manufacturing accounted for a greater percentage of Idaho jobs than it did nationally.

Even with that gain, however, the composition of Idaho’s manufacturing sector has changed significantly over the past 20 years even as its overall economic impact has declined. What was essentially a fairly even split of jobs among nondurable production like food processing, resource manufacturing like wood products, and other durables like computer chips and machinery, has become dominated by production of other durables as wood products manufacturing steadily contracted. Continue reading

Idaho Economy Settling Into Sustainable Growth Pattern

The following is the text of the Idaho Department of Labor presentation to the Idaho Legislature Economic Outlook and Revenue Assessment Committee on Jan. 8, 2015.

After a slow start, Idaho’s economic recovery from the worst recession since World War II picked up significantly in late 2012. Job creation exceeded the national rate by more than a full percentage point during spring 2013.

The unemployment rate has been steadily falling from the recession high 8.8 percent in late 2010 to 3.9 percent in November. Unemployment is now approaching the record lows before the recession although these rates are typically revised in March after additional data gathered over the past year are assessed.

unemployment ratesRecognizing that adjustments will be made to the employment data for the past year, based on current data the department estimates the average annual unemployment rate for FY2015 at 4.1 percent, down from 5.5 percent the previous fiscal year. Barring unexpected economic events the following 12 months, the rate should continue falling to average 3.6 percent for Fiscal Year 2016.

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Number of College-Age Unemployed Leaving Idaho Declines

The number of out-of-work, college-educated Idahoans leaving the state appears to be declining, but more are moving elsewhere than unemployed college-educated workers coming to Idaho from other states, based on interstate unemployment insurance claims.

Over 200 Idaho workers with college degrees or higher were receiving unemployment payments in other states at the end of 2012 and the beginning of 2013 while about 50 workers with degrees from other states were collecting benefits in Idaho.

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