In the nine years of growth following the recession of 2008-09, Idaho’s economy has created roughly 118,000 jobs. This amounts to a total growth of 17 percent over the low point of the recession, when Idaho’s total employment fell to 686,600 in March 2008. In comparison, total employment across the United States has grown by roughly 13 percent above its recession low point. Comparing growth rates – whether between states, regions or counties – only tells part of the story, however. Idaho’s job creation performance can be better evaluated in context of the state’s demographics.
The premise of this analysis is relatively straightforward. The notion of a healthy labor market – usually termed “full employment” – infers that jobs are abundant enough to employ everyone who wants to be employed. This implies job creation should be measured against the number of potential workers.
Young Idahoans today differ considerably from previous generations in demographics, attitudes and behaviors. Like their peers across the United States, they are more likely to be college graduates and more likely to be living with their parents. They are postponing marriage, childbearing and home ownership. Their behavior affects the construction industry; makers and sellers of appliances, furniture, wedding services, and household items; manufacturers and retailers for toys, diapers and other children’s products; the quality of Idaho’s current labor force; and the size of its future labor force.
Today’s young adults are waiting longer to marry. In 1960, only 3.1 percent of Idaho women aged 25 to 34 had never married. By 2010, 23.3 percent had never married. The next age cohort shows a similar pattern. In 1960, only 2 percent of women aged 35 to 45 years had never married. By 2010, 9.7 percent had never married.
Innovative Electrical Solutions LLC – an electrical contractor – has leased a new complex in Hayden where it plans to consolidate its operations, which are currently distributed across multiple office and warehousing spaces in Kootenai County. Source: Spokane Journal of Business
Kootenai County Commissioners voted 2-1 to change the county building permit system to allow residential builders to opt-out of acquiring permits. The opt-out provision will apply only to buildings in unincorporated areas. Source: Coeur d’Alene Press
Demolition has begun on the former Wild Waters waterpark. The park has been closed since 2010, but the demolition of the park and the leveling of the lot will finally allow the property to be placed on the market. Source: Coeur d’Alene Press
Prairie West Crossing developers formally unveiled their proposal for a technology park in north Post Falls. The Planning and Zoning Commission held a public hearing on the proposal, which includes multiple zoning and annexation actions on the part of the city. The technology park is designed to attract technology and aerospace manufacturers to Post Falls. Source: Coeur d’Alene Press
CDA 2030 has contracted with a Chicago-based consulting firm to conduct a market analysis and feasibility study for a potential performing arts and events center in Coeur d’Alene. The study is being jointly funded by CDA 2030 and the city’s urban renewal agency, Ignite CDA. CDA 2030 is a community-based project created to develop a vision for a bright future for greater Coeur d’Alene. Source: Spokane Journal of Business
Coeur d’Alene’s urban renewal agency, Ignite CDA, has proposed creating a new redevelopment district. The proposal specifies a new district of 54 acres in west Coeur d’Alene along the Spokane River. Source: Spokane Journal of Business
Construction has begun on a new 47-unit apartment complex in Coeur d’Alene. The rentals, located across the street from the city library, will be marketed to middle- and upper-income tenants. Source: Spokane Journal of Business
Construction is underway on a new two story commercial building in Coeur d’Alene’s Riverstone development. The Coeur d’Alene-based Orthopedic Physical Therapy Institute will occupy the ground floor while the second floor remains available for a future tenant. Source: Spokane Journal of Business
In the summer of 2017, thousands of Idaho teens took jobs. But the percentage of teens participating in the labor force remains far below its level in earlier decades. In Idaho, just as nationwide, there’s been a long-term decline in teen participation. Does that decline matter?
Summer jobs in Idaho typically peak in July. In the past four summers, Idaho employers added an average 12,600 jobs between April and July. Only one sector usually decreases employment between April and July – education. Between 2014 and 2017, it lost an average of 8,500 jobs between those months. The sectors that typically add the most summer jobs are leisure and hospitality — restaurants, hotels and recreational facilities; federal agencies — the Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management; retail — especially gas stations, convenience stores and specialty stores serving tourists; and wholesale — especially those serving the construction, forestry and agricultural industries.
Many of those jobs are taken by teens. Between the second and third quarters of 2016, the number of 14- to 18-year-olds on Idaho payrolls grew from 18,531 to 26,069, according to the Census Bureau’s Quarterly Workforce Indicators.
Construction has begun on a $7.3 million parking structure in downtown Coeur d’Alene. The 360-space garage is being spearheaded by the city’s urban renewal agency, Ignite CDA, which notes that constrained parking space presents a barrier to the redevelopment of many properties downtown. Source: Spokane Journal of Business
A $6 million medical building is under construction in the Riverstone development in Coeur d’Alene. North Idaho Dermatology will occupy part of the building when it is completed later in 2018. Source: Spokane Journal of Business
Kootenai Health has begun a $4.3 million renovation involving at least 17,000 square feet and three departments in its main hospital building in Coeur d’Alene. Source: Spokane Journal of Business
SmaK Plastics – a Vancouver-based manufacturer with a facility in Coeur d’Alene – announced plans to expand its northern Idaho workforce. SmaK currently employs 18 people in its Coeur d’Alene facility, but plans to expand to roughly 40 by the second quarter of 2018. Source: Spokane Journal of Business
The agricultural sector in Idaho plays a major role in the state economy, contributing $3 billion – about 5 percent of the total state gross domestic product.
Idaho is ranked first in the nation in the production of potatoes and barley – the state production accounts for more than 30 percent of the national production – and ranks fourth in the nation for milk and milk cow production. Farm productivity continues to advance and exports are increasing, yet farm income has fallen over the past several years. In the face of declining profit margins, low agriculture commodity prices and a farm labor supply shortage, the farmworker demographic is undergoing a change.
Agricultural Labor Worker Types
Source: Idaho Department of Labor
Agricultural labor estimates show a stable and consistent pattern of seasonal farm employment with peaks around October each year. In 2016, average annual employment was 51,240 with a peak employment of 61,100 in October 2016. Continue reading →
As Idaho’s economy continues to flourish, wages are also increasing. Accounting for statewide job growth from 2012 forward, Idaho has seen a 2 percent to 3 percent increase in total annual private sector wage growth, up 17 percent over the past decade. Wage growth rate variances depend on an array of factors including economic situation, location, industry, job growth and demand. Demographics also show a distinction in wage appropriation and growth with gender as a demographic that is frequently discussed.
Traditionally, men and woman have held different, but essential roles in America’s economic success. Initially women filled specific, ‘white collar’ service occupations such as clerical and administrative. As time passed women integrated themselves into all industries, especially during World War II when they stepped into jobs typically held by men. Another shift occurred when men returned from the war to their jobs.
by Idaho Department of Labor Director Melinda S. Smyser
Not too long ago, St. Mary’s Hospital in Cottonwood found itself in need of a medical lab scientist. After searching eight months for a qualified applicant, hospital officials worked with their local Idaho Department of Labor office to develop a registered apprenticeship program. Today the program is working so well St. Mary’s plans to set up a second apprenticeship for the same skill set.
As I meet with Idaho employers, they tell me they all have one thing in common with St. Mary’s Hospital. They need a pipeline of skilled workers with industry-specific training and hands-on experience.
Registered apprenticeships are a proven strategy for successfully building that pipeline and benefits both businesses and job seekers. Most employers see reduced turnover costs, greater employee retention, increased productivity and an average of $1.05 returned for every dollar they invest in their employees.
Apprentices benefit by on-the-job training and earn while they learn, reducing student debt. They see increased opportunities for promotion and higher wages over the course of their careers. Nationally, nine out of 10 find themselves gainfully employed at an average starting salary of $60,000 per year, and over the course of their careers, earn $300,000 more than their non-apprenticed peers.