Tag Archives: employment

Idaho’s Construction Resurges Post Recession

The construction industry suffered disproportionate job losses during the course of the Great Recession as property values plummeted and the over-heated housing market contracted. An oversupply of housing in many parts of the country caused construction to shrink for several quarters even after other industries had begun to grow again. During the post-recession growth period, however, Idaho’s construction industry has outperformed the rest of the country, fueled by the state’s high rate of population growth and the associated demand for housing and commercial space.

Beginning in late 2007, construction in Idaho began to shed jobs at an alarming rate. The industry contracted by almost 24,000 jobs between October 2007 and March 2009 – about 42 percent of the industry’s total pre-recession employment. While construction suffered across the country, Idaho’s sufferings were particularly acute; the state’s 42 percent industry contraction dwarfed the 29 percent loss experienced nationwide. Continue reading

Rural Idaho Today: An Overview of Components Impacting its Economy

This is the first of a three-part series about Idaho’s rural economy. This part examines elements impacting Idaho’s rural economy today, including population, educational attainment, industries, occupations and wages.

Part two evaluates which dynamics influence rural Idaho’s dwindling labor force.

Part three projects how rural Idaho’s population by age group and labor force participation will look in 10 years based on the previous 10-year trends.

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Labor force is a key ingredient for economic success, and labor force statistics help measure how successfully the economy is performing. The demographics of Idaho’s labor force differ in fundamental ways between its seven urban counties — Ada, Bannock, Bonneville, Canyon, Kootenai, Nez Perce and Twin Falls – and 37 rural counties. These differences spell out the challenge of economic growth and development in rural areas

Older Population

The labor force in Idaho’s rural counties reflect the intensity of their aging population. The change of baby boomers from their 40s and 50s in 1995 to their 50s and 60s has resulted in a decrease in the workforce 35 to 44 years of age and a big increase in the number of people 55 and over, as the chart of workers on payrolls shows in Fig. 1. In addition, labor force participation rates for people 55 and older have risen over the past 30 years as more have enjoyed longer lifespans and better health.

In the U.S., the average retirement age rose from age 62 in 1995 to 65 in 2015.

new-fig-1 Continue reading

New Labor Regional Economist Discovers Diverse Character of Eastern Idaho

As a new resident of eastern Idaho, I am quickly learning there is much more to this traditionally rural area than I anticipated. Each region in Idaho is immensely different from one another, but eastern Idaho has vast diversity within itself. The rural, scenic, untouched beauty of Custer and Clark counties is hard for many people to find within a reasonable distance of their daily lives. In Idaho, these scenic views are just a couple of hours drive away. The Idaho Falls metropolitan area is alive, well and the forefront of economic mobility in the region. Although small compared to metro areas nationally, swift and advanced development of medical facilities, retail shopping and restaurants makes the Idaho Falls metro area an ideal place for young families or for a retirement in paradise. Along with the many economic upsides, there are also challenges for this part of the state.

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Eastern Idaho is made up of nine counties; one urban and eight rural. Each county has experienced population growth within the last few years. Teton County, a rural county and close neighbor of Wyoming, has experienced a 34 percent population hike since 2010. After recently visiting the towns of Victor and Driggs, the reasons behind this rapid growth are clear. These quaint towns are infused with rich culture, diverse food and gorgeous views of the Teton Mountains with the kind of outdoor recreational activities most people dream about. For these reasons and more, there is an influx of migrants – retirees, young outdoor enthusiasts and people of all ages – swarming to these towns looking for adventure.

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Job Growth Anticipated in Long-Term Employment Projections

By the year 2024, the national economy is projected to add 9.8 million jobs, health care and social assistance will have the most jobs and labor force participation will drop as the last of the baby boomers retire.

These projections are part of the long-term employment and occupation projections for the nation released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics every two years. Projections attempt to answer the question, “What will the economy look like a decade from now, if it were to be running at full capacity?” This information is provided for long-term planning for decision makers and for those planning their career options. Continue reading

Small Businesses Play Big Role in Idaho’s Economy

Small businesses are an essential component of the “American Dream” and are often viewed as the backbone of the national economy. Defined as establishments with fewer than 20 employees, Idaho’s small businesses make up the majority of the state’s private employers and support a significant number of jobs statewide. While the success of smaller employers is often cyclical with the business cycle, small businesses have played a significant role in the current economic expansion and will continue to play a critical role in driving the state’s economy forward.

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Millennials Bring Different Expectations to Work

Millennials began to enter the workforce in 2006, just a year before the last recession began to bite into the economy. Nine years later, during the first quarter of this year, millennials have surpassed the baby boomers – people born approximately between 1946 and 1964 – as the largest generation in the workforce.

Millennials – individuals born approximately between 1982 and 2004 – bring with them a different outlook and view of the workplace than previous generations. Due to their size, and the uniqueness they bring, it helps for employers to understand some key differences in this group. In general, they 1.) place a greater emphasis on work-life balance; 2.)  focus on the community in which they live to the degree that it takes precedence over job considerations and 3.) desire to work for companies motivated by more than just baseline profit.

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Data Mining Tools You Can Use

Idaho Occupational Employment and Wages Survey – 2014

Screen Shot 2015-10-09 at 11.17.46 AMPaying a competitive wage is a critical factor for employee retention. Wages for more than 750 Idaho occupations can now be found on the Labor Market Information website at: http://lmi.idaho.gov/oes. The data is gathered through a survey of Idaho businesses which collects the number of employees by occupation and pay range. Only wage and salary-type compensation data are reported. Fringe benefits, overtime, bonuses, incentive pay and other non-wage earnings are not included.

BEA Prototype Features State GDP Figures by Quarter

The U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis is now releasing state gross domestic product figures by quarter. The new data set is designed to provide a fuller description of the accelerations, decelerations and turning points in the economy at the state level. Released as a prototype, the new data also includes key information about the impact of industry composition differences across the states. Adjusted for inflation, real gross domestic product measures the market value of goods and services produced within the state and is generally considered a measure of economic activity. For more information, visit the news release section of the BEA website.

A National Living Wage Calculator

MIT professor Amy Glasmeier’s “The Living Wage Calculator” shows the hourly rate someone needs to earn in every Idaho county as well as the country. Glasmeier used the data to create a map which shows the difference between the minimum wage and the amount of money necessary to meet a minimum standard of living around the U.S. The darker red areas indicate a large gap; the orange areas are a smaller gap.

Estimates for the living wage – defined as the amount needed to cover food, child care, insurance, health care, housing, transportation and taxes – are gleaned from official sources, including the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Bureau of Labor Statistics, divided over a work-year of 2,080 hours. – From the Washington Post

Idaho Labor Force, Employment and Unemployment – 2014

Annual labor force, employment and unemployment for Idaho and its substate areas can now be found for 2014 in the Geographic Profile of Employment and Unemployment, available on the Bureau of Labor Statistics website at www.bls.gov/opub/gp/laugp.htm. The profile is generated by data from the Current Population Survey (CPS) and the Local Area Unemployment Statistics (LAUS) program, which is administered for Idaho by the state Department of Labor.