Idaho has not escaped the persistent shift from goods production to service sector employment that has dogged the national economy for over 30 years. But Idaho has maintained a larger share of its economy in goods production through the 1990s and up to the Great Recession than most other states.
And even with the significant recession loss – primarily in manufacturing and construction – Idaho still has a greater share of its economy in goods production than the nation overall – a distinction the state has had since the mid-1980s.
Production jobs are important because they average about $10,000 a year more in wages than service jobs.
As measured by the percentage of personal income earned, goods production peaked in the United States during World War II when it accounted for over half of the income earnings generated by private businesses. Idaho also peaked then at just under 50 percent in 1942. Continue reading