Idaho’s economy and labor market have undergone significant changes in the last 10 years. The state has experienced a population boom after its recovery from the Great Recession, even during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Population growth and the labor market
One of the most striking features of Idaho’s economy in the last decade is the surge in its population. According to the Census Bureau, from 2012 to 2022, Idaho witnessed an increase of 343,000 residents inside its borders raising its total population to 1.939 million. If all of the additional residents collected themselves to start a new city in Idaho, it would be 45% larger than Boise, Idaho’s largest city with a population in 2022 of 236,632. This thought experiment demonstrates not only the magnitude of the population increase but the incredible economic change it drove.
Meridian is the second largest city in Idaho with 129,736 residents. It grew by almost 4,000 people between 2021 and 2022, with a 3.2% growth rate. Nampa came in first place.
“Meridian’s civilian labor force grew by 6.2% since November of 2022, adding almost 4,000 people to the labor force,” said Idaho labor economist Jan Roeser. “There are many opportunities for job seekers to connect with employers.”
With Meridian’s population continuing to grow, many employers have job vacancies to fill.
Those interested in exploring a career in transportation and trades can learn about how apprenticeships can help “earn while you learn” in a free webinar Nov.16, from 4:30 to 6 p.m. via Zoom.
The Idaho Department of Labor and the U.S. Department of Labor Women’s Bureau are partnering with Apprenticeship Idaho to host this event.
Apprenticeship is an alternative pathway to a meaningful career. It offers paid on-the-job training that can lead to a certificate or recognized credential. Women who pursue apprenticeship can attest to better-than-average pay, benefits and career advancement opportunities, according to recent research from the Urban Institute.
Gov. Brad Little has proclaimed the entire month of November as Idaho Apprenticeship Month.
Registered Apprenticeships are a proven pathway for job seekers to join the workforce and receive paid, on-the-job training leading to a recognized certification or credential in a working industry of their interest.
Apprenticeships have a 90% success rate of apprentices remaining as an employee in an industry after completing their program.
“There are multiple pathways to success,” Little said. “We need more young Idahoans to go on to postsecondary education, and we’ve been very intentional about expanding ‘go-on’ to include opportunities outside of the traditional four-year college degree – including apprenticeships.”
The average wage of job postings in northern Idaho is up 14.5% compared to last year, according to Sam Wolkenhauer, Idaho Department of Labor regional economist. With more than 1,600 openings listed in Kootenai County, job seekers have the opportunity to visit with 65 area employers who are looking for workers at an Oct. 18 hiring event in Post Falls.
The event runs from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Real Life Ministries, 1866 N. Cecil Road, Post Falls ID 83854.
Top industries looking for workers include administrative and support services; hospitals; food service; ambulatory health care services; and professional, scientific and technical services.
The number of people 16 years of age or older who are living in Caldwell and employed or actively looking for work has grown by 1.5% since August of last year. According to Idaho Department of Labor economist Jan Roeser, part of that increase is due to population growth, which also creates more job opportunities.
“Certain industries like retail, health care, hospitality and food services grow because of population growth,” said Roeser. “Manufacturing and wholesale distribution are also included and are high paying industries.
The Caldwell Labor office is hosting a hiring event Thursday, Sept. 28, 3 to 6 p.m. in the Caldwell Labor parking lot located at 4514 Thomas Jefferson St.
The seasonally adjusted, preliminary unemployment rate in the Pocatello metropolitan area is currently at 3.2%, which is down 1% from the revised unemployment rate last month. This percentage rate, according to Labor economist Ryan Whitesides, is from workers returning to work from furloughs or layoffs from large-scale industrial projects.
“While total employment grew as unemployment dropped in the region, unemployment mathematically dropped a bit faster,” Whitesides said.
To help residents find jobs and employers to fine workers, the Idaho Department of Labor is holding a hiring event on Wednesday, Sept. 27.
With a high demand for workers and almost 1,700 job postings in Kootenai County, the Idaho Department of Labor is hosting its annual monthly hiring event Wednesday, Sept. 20 to share job opportunities.
64 different economic sectors have active job postings right now in northern Idaho. The top three categories are: delivery and messenger services; professional, scientific, and technical services; and administrative and support services. Over 35 employers attending the hiring event will be trying to fill openings in some of these industries on Wednesday.
The supply and cost of workers and high labor turnover are among top concerns of Idaho businesses who participated in an Idaho Department of Labor survey this spring.
This inaugural Idaho business climate survey was designed to uncover significant business concerns, desired labor force skills, leadership demographics, remote work trends and future growth expectations among Idaho employers.