Launching a new career, or considering changing a current one, can be daunting and even more so during the uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic. But In spite of the negative effects of the pandemic on many industries, manufacturing can offers opportunities.
Manufacturing is an evolving industry, especially in southwestern Idaho ranging from semi-conductor chip manufacturing to potato chip manufacturing. The skill levels of the workforce over the past couple of decades have changed dramatically as manufacturing is more automated and less physically demanding in many cases. Markets have changed with more global opportunities for Idaho products.
The highest level of manufacturing among Idaho’s six regions is in southwestern Idaho with more than 30,000 jobs across its 10 counties – 47 percent of all Idaho manufacturing jobs. South central Idaho has the next largest share at just 15 percent. The southwestern region’s 10 counties are diverse and include the state’s largest metropolitan area, Boise, remote small counties with logging traditions and vast counties citing its greatest population density as sagebrush and four-legged beef cattle. The share of manufacturing jobs in southwestern Idaho is higher than the nation’s by 4 percent but ranks fifth in share among Idaho’s six regions — the other five regions have significantly fewer total jobs than southwestern Idaho. The trend is showing some downward movement due to reduced production by large tech employers such as HP and Micron.