The strength of agriculture and food processing in eastern Idaho sheltered the region to a degree from the past recession. Unemployment rates in most southeastern counties never exceeded 9 percent. Oneida, Franklin, Madison, Teton and Bear Lake counties all topped out around 7 percent.
Health care was another sector that helped offset job losses. Between 2007 and 2009, health care added 2,100 jobs as the region’s elderly population rose while many other sectors were shedding workers.
Despite that growth, employment in the 16 eastern counties dropped more than 9,000. Construction and administrative and support and waste management and remediation services combined for a majority of those losses – construction losing 3,200 jobs and administrative support another 2,400.