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
COVID-19 is having substantial economic impacts and causing significant job losses as non-essential businesses close. In Idaho, unemployment insurance claims spiked following implementation of Idaho’s stay-home order, with nearly 110,000 total claims filed in the first five weeks following the statewide emergency order. Since then, weekly initial claims averages are roughly 18 times greater than the weekly average in 2019.
While it will take time to understand the full economic impact of COVID-19, it is not too early to detect job loss patterns. Some industries are losing more jobs than others, and while some industry losses are not surprising — like movie theaters, restaurants and salons — others may be counterintuitive. Despite the strain on some parts of the health care industry to treat COVID-19, health care workers are losing their jobs because patients are putting off routine medial care and elective surgeries. Other people are avoiding emergency rooms and urgent care clinics due to fears of contracting COVID-19.
COVID-19 slammed Idaho’s economy in March, causing the most sudden and largest job losses ever. At first, most of the job losses occurred in the tourism industry, as fear of COVID-19 reduced international travel, then domestic travel. Then conventions were canceled, schools closed, classes moved online and the dominoes kept falling. Every day, more businesses shut down or laid off its workers. On March 25, Gov. Brad Little issued a statewide 21-day stay-home order and required non-essential businesses to close.
In the six weeks since the coronavirus began affecting Idaho’s economy, 117,811 claims were filed — 13.5 percent of all Idaho residents who were employed before the crisis.
The Coeur d’Alene Tribe received an Indian Housing Block Grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, worth just over $1 million. The grant will support affordable housing development in tribal communities. Source: Coeur d’Alene Press
Two manufacturers in Kootenai County – Advanced Thermoplastics Composites and Continuous Composites – are participating in a 10-week intensive training program with the US Air Force. The program provides special training for small manufacturers (with under 500 employers) developing structures and systems for unmanned aircraft. Source: Journal of Business
Six businesses in downtown Coeur d’Alene have been displaced by a building fire which led to a roof collapse. The structure fire effected Emerge Art Gallery, Cole Taylor Salon, Schmidty’s Burgers, Heart City Tattoo, Farmers Insurance Agency, and 720 Haberdashery. Source: Spokesman Review
Aspen Homes & Development has begun construction on a 20-unit apartment complex in Coeur d’Alene. The units will be roughly 1,200 square feet and priced around $1,400 per month. Source: Journal of Business
Idaho’s first “Holistic Chamber of Commerce” has opened in Post Falls. The chamber will target specifically environmentally friendly companies, ideas and products, with the self-described mission of representing “holistic professionals, practitioners, businesses and resource providers.” Source: Coeur d’Alene Press
Mainstream Electric, an electric, heating, cooling and plumbing company, is vacating its facility in Post Falls and moving its operations across the Washington border. The company, which employs 42 people, experienced 94 percent growth between 2015 and 2018, and has outgrown its space in northern Idaho. Source: Coeur d’Alene Press
Hecla Mining Company and miners of the United Steelworkers Union 5114 have agreed to a new labor contract, ending a strike lasting 1,030 days. Hecla plans to bring workers back in phases and hopes to bring the Lucky Friday mine back up to full production this year. Source: Shoshone News-Press
The number of farming operations and the acres of land under farm production in the U.S. peaked in 1935, trending downward since except for a slight uptick from 2012 to 2017. But in south central Idaho, the number of acres in farming is stable and even experienced some growth since the 2007 recession, according to the most recent Census of Agriculture, a survey conducted every five years by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS).
The Census of Ag is comprehensive across geographies, providing data on the nation, the 50 states and counties within each state. Data is gathered from surveys mailed to farmers and ranchers with thousands of acres and hobby farmers who only sell a couple of steers annually to friends and family.
The Census of Ag provides the only source of uniform, comprehensive, and impartial agriculture data for every county in the nation. This data is also a ‘go-to’ for those who serve farmers and rural communities including federal, state and local governments, agribusinesses, trade associations, and agricultural support companies.
The NASS definition of a farm is any place from which $1,000 or more of agricultural products were produced and sold, or normally would have been sold, during the census year. This threshold is unchanged since 1975.
For Immediate Release: Jan. 24, 2020 Information Contact: Karen Jarboe Singletary (208) 332-3570 ext. 3215 or Craig Shaul (208) 332-3570 ext. 3201
Idaho Falls MSA led the nation in over-the-year job gains
Idaho’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate remained at 2.9 percent in December for the sixth consecutive month.
An additional 2,329 people made themselves available for work in December, pushing Idaho’s seasonally adjusted labor force up to 889,092. The number of unemployed decreased by 110 to 25,769. Total employment grew by 2,439 to 863,323.
Idaho’s labor force participation rate – the percentage of people age 16 years or older working or looking for work – moved up slightly to 64.2 percent.
The Coeur d’Alene City Council voted to create a health corridor urban renewal district around Kootenai Health. The new urban renewal district will allow infrastructure improvements to accommodate the rapidly expanding hospital. Source: Coeur d’Alene Press
The city of Post Falls voted to rezone a large parcel of industrial zone to urban center. The rezoning will tie in with the city’s intention to expand commercial development in 2020. Source: Coeur d’Alene Press
California-based Strategic Service Solutions Inc. has leased new office space in Post Falls, which the IT integration company will use to service eastern Washington and northern Idaho clients. Source: Journal of Business
Dollar Fulfillment, a Hayden-based e-Commerce fulfillment company, has purchased 5 acres in Post Falls’ Bighorn Industrial Park to expand operations. Last Year, Dollar Fulfillment was ranked among the 300 fastest-growing private companies in the United States. Source: Journal of Business
Sandpoint-based manufacturer Tamarack Aerospace Group has filed a reorganization plan to bring the company out of chapter 11 bankruptcy. The new plan, if approved, will allow Tamarack to emerge from chapter 11 reorganization without additional staffing reductions. Source: Journal of Business
The Coeur d’Alene Planning Commission unanimously passed plans for the development of the Atlas Waterfront site. The plan will develop a 61 acre complex along the Spokane River over eight to 10 years. The development will include single family homes, townhouses, apartments and condos along with retail space, while preserving 12 acres of public space along the river. Source: Coeur d’Alene Press
The Kootenai Humane Society broke ground on a new facility. The Humane Society is progressing through a $6.5 million fundraising campaign to build the shelter, which is expected to be completed in 2020. Source: Coeur d’Alene Press
Work is underway on a $15 million expansion at the Coeur d’Alene Airport, which will be used by StanCraft Boat Co. to launch a new aircraft retrofitting and refueling facility. Source: Coeur d’Alene Press
Tamarack Aerospace Group is moving forward with its Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing and received U.S. Bankruptcy Court approval to move forward with a financing plan that will allow the company to resume its sales. Source: Spokane-Kootenai Journal of Business
TDS Metrocom, a Wisconsin-based telecommunications company, has begun constructing a new fiber optic network in Coeur d’Alene, which will eventually offer high-speed residential connectivity. TDS currently has a staff of 11 people in Coeur d’Alene, but expects to ramp up to as many as 200 employees by 2022, at which point the company anticipates having installed more than 700 miles of fiber. Eventually, TDS expects to be able to serve roughly 48,000 residences and business in Kootenai County. Source: Spokane-Kootenai Journal of Business
The city of Post Falls is moving forward to create a 548-acre urban renewal district encompassing the city’s downtown district. A report from the city council noted that 151 of the 674 structures in the district were in a state of deterioration, while the area also suffered from a lack of sidewalks, unfinished streets and underdeveloped tracts. Source: Coeur d’Alene Press
The Red Lion Templin’s Hotel in Post Falls is undergoing a complete renovation by its new owners, KVA Management. Improvements include a renovation of all 163 guestrooms, a renovated lobby and a new restaurant and kitchen. Source: Coeur d’Alene Press