Fatbeam LLC – a Coeur d’Alene-based fiber provider – is introducing a new product called Cloudbeam, which will allow its customers to connect securely to cloud services. Cloudbeam will function as Fatbeam’s proprietary alternative to VPN (virtual private network) services. Source: Journal of Business
Engel & Volkers, a German-based international luxury real estate brokerage, has opened an office in Coeur d’Alene with plans for a Sandpoint office in 2021. Source: Journal of Business
Quest Integration Inc., a Post Falls technology firm providing support for the manufacture and design of 3D printers, has been acquired by Hawk Ridge Systems, a California-based manufacturer of 3D printing systems. Quest will continue to operate under that name during the integration process but will eventually operate under the Hawk Ridge name. Source: Journal of Business
Unemployment continued claims – the number of people who requested an unemployment benefit payment – continued to fall the week ending Oct. 3, dropping 8 percent from the previous week to 9,144, the 22nd consecutive week of declines.
The four-week moving average for continued claims fell 9 percent – from 11,284 for the week ending Sept. 26 to 10,314 for the week ending Oct. 3.
Initial claims for unemployment benefits totaled 2,955 for the week ending Oct. 3, dropping slightly by 40 claims, pushing the four-week moving average down by 6 percent to 3,265.
Tamarack Aerospace Group, which successfully emerged from bankruptcy this year, is expanding its operations by adding a hanger and additional office space in Sandpoint, as well as a new facility in the United Kingdom. The new hanger space will be used for the installation of Tamarack’s fuel-efficiency boosting jet winglets. Source: Journal of Business
Construction is underway on a new five-story, 62-unit apartment complex in Coeur d’Alene’s Riverstone development. Completion is anticipated for fall, 2021. Source: Coeur d’Alene Press
Coeur d’Alene City Council voted to demolish two abandoned hotels in the city. The hotels were acquired by the city in a land swap with the local charity organization St. Vincent de Paul. A new use has not been confirmed for the land currently occupied by the hotels, but public parking and a pocket park have been suggested by the city’s planning officials. Source: Coeur d’Alene Press
Public schools in Coeur d’Alene have pushed back the start of school to Sept. 14 and will begin with a blended learning approach that combines online learning with classroom time. Students will attend school in person on alternate days (determined alphabetically by last name) to halve classroom size on any given day. Source: Coeur d’Alene Press
The annual Paul Bunyan Days festival in St. Maries has been cancelled due to COVID-19. The four-day event is normally held around Labor Day to celebrate St. Maries’ logging community. This is the first time in the 51-year history of the festival that it has been cancelled. Source: Coeur d’Alene Press
The Panhandle Health District approved a public mask mandate for Kootenai County. The mandate will make it a misdemeanor to be in public places without a mask in situations where social distancing is not possible. Source: Coeur d’Alene Press
StanCraft has expanded its development plans at the Coeur d’Alene Airport to include an additional hanger. The Hayden-based company has been building facilities for the retrofitting and customization of jet interiors, with two previously planned hangers expected to come online this fall and a new third hanger now planned for 2021. Source: Journal of Business
Fernan Lake has been placed under a public health advisory due to a toxic algae bloom. Residents and recreators have been advised to avoid contact with the water until the algae have subsided. Source: Spokesman Review
The 416,000 Idahoans who are in their 50s and 60s face many challenges because of the coronavirus economic impact.
Loss of business income. The COVID-19 pandemic has greatly reduced revenues of many Idaho businesses. It also is likely to lead to the permanent closure of some businesses, especially restaurants, entertainment operations, lodging and retail stores. Since older adults are more likely to run their own businesses, they are disproportionately impacted. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, about 24 percent of American workers 65 years and older are self-employed, while 15 percent of workers 55 to 64 years are self-employed. In comparison, 8 percent of workers under 55 are self-employed.
Joblessness. About 16 percent of Idaho’s 162,000 payroll workers 55 years and over filed new unemployment insurance claims between March 15 and June 13. Some returned to work within a month, but others experienced two or three months of joblessness.
Coeur d’Alene internet provider Intermax Networks has expanded into the Spokane market by acquiring Telwest Inc., a Spokane-based telecommunications provider. Source: Journal of Business
Kootenai County is on the shortlist of potential sites for a new manufacturing plant KORE Power – a battery manufacturer – is planning to build in the United States. KORE’s corporate operations are already located in Coeur d’Alene, but their manufacturing operations are currently in China. KORE plans to build a new plant in the United States which will employ roughly 3,000 people once fully operational. Source: CDA Press
A new report from the Environmental Protection Agency highlighted the successful completion of a variety of cleanup projects related to the Bunker Hill Superfund Site and laid out plans for an additional $20 million in cleanup work and construction through the end of 2020. Source: CDA Press
Schweitzer Mountain Resort executives are unveiling plans for $85 million in new development, including new runs, lifts and a previously planned boutique hotel. Resort executives said expansion is justified by robust annual attendance figures. Completion of the new hotel was slated to accommodate the opening of the 2020-21 ski season, but construction has been delayed due to COVID-19. Source: Spokane Journal of Business
The Kootenai Tribe has reopened the Kootenai River Inn Casino after nearly seven weeks of being closed due to COVID-19. The tribe paid all employee wages, including tips, during the shutdown and used the downtime to conduct improvements to the facility’s parking lot, swimming pool and casino space. Source: Coeur d’Alene Press
Downtown Coeur d’Alene is in the process of reopening according to the guidelines issued by the governor’s office. Restaurants have opened dine-in service with reduced capacity, and the Coeur d’Alene Resort has re-opened. Source: Coeur d’Alene Press
The Salvation Army’s Kroc Center has re-opened after the extended COVID-19 shutdown. Gym and swimming facilities will operate at a reduced capacity to limit crowding, and hours will be modified to accommodate an intensified cleaning schedule. Source: Coeur d’Alene Press
Silverwood Theme Park has announced plans to open May 30, with a variety of alterations to reduce crowding. Changes include limited daily attendance, complementary masks and reconfigured waiting lines. Source: Coeur d’Alene Press
The Federal Communications Commission has approved $521,000 in funding for Red-Spectrum Communications, a broadband provider owned by the Coeur d’Alene Tribe, to expand access in Benewah County. Source: Journal of Business
The U.S. District Court has approved Tamarack Aerospace’s proposed reorganization plan. The Sandpoint winglet manufacturer has been pursuing a reorganization to allow it to emerge from ongoing Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Source: Journal of Business
Percussionaire, a Sandpoint manufacturer, has received clearance from the Food and Drug Administration to produce and distribute a new compact ventilator. The company has also massively ramped up production, from their typical rate of roughly 100 ventilators a month, to more than 1,000 per week. Source: Coeur d’Alene Press
Local food banks are facing significantly higher needs from the community in the wake of COVID-19-related job losses. The Kroc Center and the Silver Lake Mall are now hosting distribution of food as well as personal protective equipment and hygiene products. Source: Coeur d’Alene Press
Despite economic disruption from COVID-19, some construction has proceeded apace in Kootenai County. The Atlas Mill Site development project is moving forward, although construction has not yet begun, and commercial construction in Hayden is still occurring. Source: Coeur d’Alene Press
The Coeur Group, a volunteer group of professionals in Kootenai County, is providing a variety of services to affected residents through their COVID-19 task force. Services include running errands for health-compromised individuals who cannot go out in public, in addition to providing financial assistance to households struggling to meet basic expenses. Source: Coeur d’Alene Press
This March edition of “Around Idaho” was postponed due to unexpected delays caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. This article is being published to provide a record of the economic climate across the state during March 2020.
Information provided in these news updates is from professional sources, news releases, weekly and daily newspapers, television and other media.
Effective Monday, March 23, all restaurants and bars in Post Falls, Coeur d’Alene and Hayden were closed to dine-in customers for two weeks to improve social distancing measures in response to COVID-19. Drive-thru and pickup service is still allowed. Source: Coeur d’Alene Press
The Coeur d’Alene Public Library announced an indefinite closure due to COVID 19 on March 16. On March 21 they announced the suspension of curbside book pickup, out of concern that it was encouraging people to gather outside the library. Patrons were instructed to hold on to items currently on loan until the library reopens. Source: Coeur d’Alene Press
Mountain West Bank has closed the lobbies in all its Idaho facilities. Drive thru banking service will still be available. (Source: Coeur d’Alene Press)
Area schools are closed to prevent the spread of COVID 19. Public school districts are closed until conditions improve, according to the State Board of Education criteria. CDA Charter Academy and North Idaho STEM Charter Academy have both transitioned completely to online learning. Source: Coeur d’Alene Press
The COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic has created unprecedented disruptions to the economy. Each week in March brought news and developments that were historic and overshadowed the previous week’s developments. It has been impossible to keep up with the magnitude and volume of the economic impact affecting Idaho and its regions.
To document this event in Idaho, and the changes our state is experiencing from week to week, the Idaho Department of Labor is providing a weekly update. Pertinent events and data as it becomes available will be provided for each region in Idaho, the state as a whole and the context of the national economy.