For Immediate Release: Oct. 3, 2018 Information Contact: Robert Kabel (208) 332-3570 ext. 3886
Ada County’s weekly average wage increased 5.1 percent from the first quarter of 2017 to the first quarter of 2018 according to county employment and wage information released Wednesday by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Ada County’s percentage increase to a weekly average wage of $943 ranked it 34th among the 349 largest U.S. counties. Nationally, the average weekly wage increased 3.7 percent to $1,152 in the first quarter of 2018. The BLS also reported Ada County’s employment increased by 4.5 percent from March 2017 to March 2018. Employment and wage levels (but not over-the-year changes) are also available for Idaho’s other 43 counties. Details: https://www.bls.gov/regions/west/news-release/countyemploymentandwages_idaho.htm
New rules surrounding job conditions for H-2A workers who herd sheep, goats and other livestock mean employers must pay a wage that equals or exceeds the highest of a monthly pay rate, a collective bargaining agreement wage, or an applicable minimum wage set by court or law.
According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the old requirements — adopted in 2010 — do not readily apply to unique occupations that place workers in remote locations where they are on call 24 hours per day, seven days a week. The scarcity of U.S. workers employed in the field have also made setting an appropriate minimum wage difficult, resulting in what the federal agency refers to as “wage stagnation for nearly 20 years.”
This is the second of a two-part article examining the age distribution of Idaho workers by sector at the regional level. Part one provided an overall view of worker ages across the state specifically by industry sector. Read Part 1.
The age distribution of Idaho workers is telling in terms of the future supply of labor.
Only 13 percent of the utility workers in northern and north central Idaho are under 35, and statewide just 15 percent of utility employees are under 35. At the same time, 40 percent of utility payrolls in southeastern and south central Idaho are aged 55 and older, and the share statewide is 33 percent.
Food servers often experience down times during their shifts when they find themselves waiting for customers, which raises the question: Is it legal for businesses to pay servers below the minimum wage of $7.25 per hour while they are waiting for customers, and, subsequently, not earning any tips? Tipped employees in Idaho earn $3.35 per hour.
While it may appear to be an easy question, it is actually more complicated. Oftentimes, follow-up questions are necessary to determine if work is still being performed and if it’s considered compensable time.
During work time when a tipped employee is not receiving tips, he or she will still be paid the tipped minimum wage but it is based on the average for the pay period. Hours worked and tips received must equal no less than Idaho’s minimum wage of $7.25 per hour.
For example, if a pay period is one week and an employee works 40 hours, 10 of which were not serving but engaged in other work, the average of the employee’s hourly wage plus tips for the 40 hours must be $7.25 per hour minimum — $290 for the week..
Learn more about wage requirements for tipped employees here.
Whether an employee needs to be paid also depends on whether he or she is on or off duty.
Idaho’s recent real wage struggles and historical downturn are not unique. The trends Idaho has experienced are similar to those seen by other states in the West and the Great Lakes, and several have experienced greater declines.
Idaho’s industrial makeup has changed over the past 40 years as the state has experienced an economic shift, but wages in most industries historically have been lower than the national average and continue to decline in comparison across sectors despite different growth trends. Differences in the average annual wage between Idaho and the nation are not entirely mitigated by Idaho’s lower cost-of-living. Even with a cost-of-living adjusted Idaho wages ranked last in the country in 2012.
Idaho’s job recovery began showing signs of life in late 2011 and picked up in 2013 when year-over-year monthly growth rates exceeded 2 percent, according to the Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages. In April 2013 Idaho had the third highest year-over-year job growth at 3.1 percent and the fourth highest in May at 3.1 percent.
Through the 12 months that ended in September 2013, Idaho recovered 21,000 of the 56,000 jobs it lost to the recession. While that recovery rate was 40th among the states, it underscored the slow job growth the state experienced during the first several years following the recession. Continue reading →
Idaho’s economy has been producing jobs faster than the nation and most states over the past two years.
Between October 2011 and October 2013, the number of nonfarm jobs in Idaho increased 4.2 percent, seven-tenths of a percentage point higher than the national increase, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Only nine other states posted higher increases.
From October 2011 through March 2013 – the most recent period figures are available for – Idaho’s average wage on an annualized basis increased from $35,832 to $36,186, or by 1 percent according to federal estimates.
Nationally, the average wage rose 2.3 percent over the same period to $49,368. Continue reading →
Education is important in determining the kind of job a worker can get, and, as importantly if not more so, how much it pays.
But while more education has benefits, not all occupations requiring a higher level of education pay a higher wage. The reverse is also true – some occupations requiring little education provide decent paychecks.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics assigns a minimum level of education required for each occupation. The wage paid to the 10th percentile of workers in each occupation is used as the entry level wage for that occupation. Although the wage paid to the 10th percentile of workers is not exactly the entry wage for each occupation, it is a legitimate stand-in for entry level pay.