Tag Archives: government jobs

Government Jobs Promote Economic Health in Rural Idaho

One in eight Idahoans who live in a rural area works for the federal, state or local government, not including education.

For some rural communities, government jobs are essential for their economic health and offset increases in low-paying, service-oriented jobs. Many government jobs pay higher average wages and attract a skilled and educated workforce. Additionally, since the vast majority of government wages flow into a community from outside sources, these jobs function as a source of basic income for rural economies, creating wealth inside the community rather than simply recirculating it, as many service jobs do.

Compared with the seven urban counties in Idaho, the share of jobs in government is greater in the rural area of every region except south central Idaho.

When looking at the share of wages flowing into the community from state, federal and local governments, wages in every region except the rural areas of south central and southeastern are greater than the share of government employment. In other words, looking at employment number alone understates the importance of these jobs, but because almost 85 percent of these wages come from state or federal sources, these wages serve as an economic base similar to a mine or paper mill.

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Public Service Jobs Mainstay of Many Local Economies

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In tough economic times when governments become strapped for operating revenue, the public – and their representatives – often focus on public employees during debates over tax increases and spending cuts.

Higher-than-average government salaries draw quick attention, but advanced education and experience is required for many government jobs that dictate those salaries. Some government technical or financial jobs require master’s degrees or doctorates.

At the same time, communities are always looking for more higher-paying jobs to fuel their local economies – jobs like those many government workers hold down. These workers help the local economy by spending their paychecks in the community, although increased Internet sales have siphoned off some of that local activity.
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