Tag Archives: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Teton County’s Growing Population Puts Pressure on Employment, Wages

Teton County is one of Idaho’s smallest counties. The largest of its three cities – Victor – has fewer than 2,000 residents. Its proximity to the Grand Targhee and Jackson Hole ski resorts makes it a bedroom community to year-round tourist destinations. As such, Teton County has experienced unique changes as the national economy continues to improve.

Population Growth

Economic Modeling Specialists International estimated Teton County’s 2014 population at 11,067, less than 1 percent of the state’s population. Over the past five years, however, the county’s population has grown more than 10 percent, outpacing the state’s growth rate by 4 percentage points. And as the county population increased, so has the demand for labor.

Job Growth

Job growth in Teton County has been much higher than job growth statewide. While Idaho’s statewide private sector growth grew jobs by 3.9 percent from the first quarters of 2013 and 2014, Teton County’s private sector added 178 new jobs, a 10.4 percent increase.

As a result, some Teton County employers have had a difficult time filling openings.

TableCost of Living in Teton County

Teton County’s cost of living in relation to household income is significantly higher than the rest of the state and surrounding areas.

The average mortgage payment accounts for 33.2 percent of Teton County’s average household income, compared with less than 25 percent for the state. Although housing costs are significantly higher in neighboring Jackson Hole, Wyo., the average mortgage payment only accounts for 27.6 percent of the average household income leaving more money available for discretionary spending.

housing costs as percent

Teton County’s average cost of living for renters is also higher than the statewide average or in in Jackson Hole, WY. Average gross monthly rent in Teton County is 16.3 percent of the average household income while gross monthly rent accounts for 12.1 percent in Jackson and 14.4 percent for Idaho.

The higher cost of housing coupled with lower paying jobs has caused the county’s workforce to seek employment elsewhere, causing what feels like a worker shortage.

Inflow Outflow

In 2011, the Census Bureau reported that 61.2 percent of the available workforce in Teton County were employed outside the county, with only 38.8 percent of the workforce working in the county where they live.

One in five workers from Teton County works in Wyoming, most in Jackson Hole. Driggs, Teton’s county seat, employed one in five.

Tetons workforce

Having so many people leave the area can significantly impact an employer’s ability to fill jobs, putting an upward pressure on wages.

Wage Growth

Average private sector wages in Teton County increased 8.2 percent from the end of the first quarter of 2013 to the end of the first quarter 2014, nearly twice as much as the state’s wage increase of 4.3 percent, according to BLS and census data. From 2011 to 2013, growth in average pay for new hires in Teton also outpaced the state’s growth rate. In Teton County, average pay for new hires increased 4 percent while average new hire pay increased 2 percent statewide.

Despite the accelerated growth in wages, the average wage in Teton County still falls 20 percent short of Idaho’s statewide average wage  and 40 percent below the average wage for Jackson Hole, Wyo.

As long as the benefits outweigh the costs of commuting to work, Teton County’s workforce will continue to commute, leaving jobs unfilled. But the longer jobs remain unfilled, the greater the pressure will be to increase wages, making it attractive for workers to remain in the county.

Christopher.StJeor@labor.idaho.gov, regional economist
(208) 557-2500 ext 3077

Understanding Idaho’s Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages

Although it is not as well-known as the unemployment rate or the changes in nonfarm payroll jobs, Idaho’s Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages (QCEW) plays a key role in developing those reports.

The Idaho Department of Labor’s QCEW program is part of a nationwide operation funded by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Its mission is to review the records Idaho employers provide with payment of their quarterly unemployment insurance taxes to ensure employers are coded into the right industry error-free. Once review and cleaning of the record is complete, it is uploaded into a database that contains the vast majority of Idaho’s employment which provides a detailed snapshot of Idaho’s labor market and economy.

In statistical terms, the QCEW program nearly captures the entire universe of employment. In Idaho, 94 percent of all employment and wages in the state is compiled into a database. Nationally, the data captured is around 96 percent of the total that is known to exist.

The small percentage of data that is not captured by QCEW is the result of employers who are exempted through federal or state law from paying unemployment insurance taxes. Examples of exempted employment include railroad workers, university and hospital internships and workers for religious organizations.

The Bureau of Labor Statistic’s samples for the Establishment Survey (where nonfarm estimates are derived by the Current Employment Statistics program) and the Occupational and Employment Survey (which provides information on the national and state landscape of occupations and their wages) are both derived from QCEW data. In addition, nonfarm estimates are corrected at the end of each year based on information from QCEW data through a process known as benchmarking. While the survey unemployment rate estimates are developed and operated by the Census Bureau, it also corrects these estimates at the end of each year based on information derived from QCEW.

While the strength of QCEW is the breadth of detail it provides for researching Idaho’s economy, its weakness is the time it takes to publish new data. Collection and processing of data is a long process that results in new information being published six-to-nine months after the fact. Another weakness is QCEW data can contain historical and classification shifts that cause the underlying industry and wage data to fluctuate in ways that do not necessarily represent an economic change.

Using QCEW information to benchmark the nonfarm payroll employment and unemployment rate requires that any invalid shifts that may exist in the data be resolved before being used to correct estimates. This benchmarking process is why there is an extended period between the release of December’s unemployment rate and January’s unemployment data. The data is typically not released until March when the results of the benchmark for the unemployment rate and nonfarm estimates are made public.

While QCEW sifts through sensitive and personal data, the confidentiality of the information is protected by law. Stakeholders can rest assured that we take the protection of confidential data seriously. The Bureau of Labor Statistics requires each analyst and technician to take annual training on handling confidential information. They are also required to sign agreements that state they understand infractions and breeches of the strict federal laws and rules which protect employer and employee data are subject to a $250,000 fine and six months in jail. The Idaho Department of Labor extends this arrangement further by requiring everyone in the agency’s Communications & Research Division to take confidentiality training and sign a confidentiality agreement.

“We take the privilege of serving as the administrator of Idaho’s cooperative agreement with the Bureau of Labor Statistics very seriously,” explains Deputy Director Georgia Smith. “Part of that agreement means we safeguard the data from misuse and unauthorized disclosure.”

Craig Shaul, research analyst supervisor

Changes in Idaho’s Alternative Unemployment Measures

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics recently released a new set of alternative unemployment measures for four quarters through September 2013, and Idaho posted the largest percentage improvement for the U-1 unemployment rate. This measure includes those who are unemployed for 15 weeks or more. Only four other states posted double-digit declines but Idaho’s 13 percent decrease was the largest.

chartIdaho’s U-1 unemployment rate decreased by four-tenths of a point – falling from 3.1 percent for the year ending in June 2013 to 2.7 percent in the year ending in September. Over the year Idaho’s U-1 unemployment rate decreased by 29 percent – only Hawaii showed greater improvement – declining by 31 percent. Continue reading

Part-time Employment Surges in Idaho

percent parttime

Idaho’s corps of part-time workers increased dramatically during the recession and has remained high even as the state’s economic recovery is gaining ground.

Workers in part-time jobs accounted for over 24 percent of total employment in 2012 – 174,000 or nearly one of every four workers. That was up from just over 18 percent – 135,000 – in 2007 during the final spurt of the state’s economic expansion.

In January, part-time employment hit 25 percent on a 12-month running average and has since begun to decline, falling to 23 percent in June.

But the level of part-time employment remained much higher following the recession, which ended in June 2009, than it did following the 2001 recession.

In some cases, the increase in part-time employment reflects the re-entry into the labor force of people who needed to supplement income because the recession eroded retirement savings or the primary household breadwinner was laid off or relegated to part time as employers coped with the downturn.

But the share of workers in part-time jobs even though they wanted but could not find full-time work more than doubled from 2007 and remained high into the recovery, likely a reflection of the structural shift toward service jobs in Idaho. There was an average of 35,000 involuntary part-time workers across Idaho in 2012 according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics – one of every five workers in part-time jobs.

It is one of the reasons Idaho has such a high percentage of multiple jobholders – 7.4 percent in 2011.

Idaho posted the third largest percentage point shift in the share of total jobs in the service sector from 2007 to 2012 – 3.9 percentage points behind Nevada and Arizona. In those five years, Idaho’s economic structure went from 81.3 percent service jobs to over 85.2 percent.

The monthly Current Population Survey, conducted jointly by the U.S. Census Bureau and the Bureau of Labor Statistics, defines a part-time worker as anyone working between one and 34 hours during the survey week. The period of work must be the usual period of work and not an anomaly. The survey estimates not only workers in jobs covered by the unemployment insurance system, which averaged 623,000 in 2012 and 656,000 in 2007, but also the 90,000 people who are self-employed or work in noncovered employment.

While part-time employment nationally increased nearly two and a half percentage points during the recession, it never exceeded 20 percent and has been slowly receding the past two years. Idaho was one of only eight states seeing percentages of part-time employment rise significantly during the recession and then remain over 20 percent in the recovery through 2012.

type part time

The six percentage-point spike in part-time employment in Idaho was the biggest percentage-point increase among the states. It was matched by Nevada, where part-time jobs never hit 20 percent and where the rate has been falling the last two years.

Manufacturing was the only major industrial sector to see a decline in the percentage of part-time jobs since 2007. Along with mining and government, manufacturing maintained a single-digit part-time job rate through the recession.

The recession’s biggest impact was on jobs in other services like dry-cleaning, automotive services, various repair services and personal services. Part-time jobs in this sector jumped from under 25 percent to 40 percent. Leisure and hospitality, which includes hotels and restaurants, jumped from 37 percent part time in 2007 to almost 50 percent in 2012.

Education and health care remained relatively stable, moving from just under 25 percent to 27.5 percent while the remaining sectors posted more substantial increases in part-time jobs.

— Bob Fick, communications manager
Bob.Fick@labor.idaho.gov, (208) 332-3570, ext. 3628