Idaho’s economy has been one of the most dynamic among all the states in recent years. Over the past five years, Idaho has consistently been at the top of the charts in terms of job creation, and only Utah has created jobs as quickly. Recently, the Idaho Department of Labor completed a new round of labor market projections which anticipate that Idaho’s strong rate of job creation will continue into the foreseeable future.
This new analysis forecasts that Idaho’s total employment will reach 840,000 by 2026, up from a 2016 total of about 735,000. This amounts to approximately 105,000 new jobs created in 10 years, which represents a 14.4 percent increase. This indicates that Idaho is expected to substantially outpace the rest of the nation in job creation. Equivalent projections from the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projected total U.S. employment to grow by only 7.7 period in the same time period (1). Continue reading
Every two years, the Idaho Department of Labor releases 10-year-projections of what Idaho’s economy may look like. After years of sluggish economic growth the department’s most recent projections indicate that Idaho’s economy may finally be heating up. From 2012 to 2022 Idaho payroll jobs are projected to grow 16.3 percent – 1.5 percent annually – and add more than 109,000 jobs to the economy. While 16 percent growth would be excellent news for the state’s economy, Idaho’s economy appears to be well ahead of schedule and on track to significantly outpace the national economy.
Another positive sign in Idaho’s current expansion is that the growth has been distributed throughout several sectors of the economy. With two years removed from the latest projections, 12 industries in Idaho have posted higher-than-expected growth rates. Health care and social assistance reported the largest net growth adding 6,764 jobs – 2,800 more than projected growth – followed by leisure and hospitality adding 4,749 – 2,060 more than projected growth – and construction at 4,332 – 2,100 more than projected growth. Eight industries performed below expectations, four of which experienced losses.
Source: Idaho Department of Labor, QCEW
Idaho’s recovery from the recession has been among the strongest of any U.S. state. Over the past five years, Idaho has consistently ranked near or at the top in the rate of growth for employment. Idaho, significantly, does not suffer from imbalanced or lopsided growth, where one or two industries are growing while the rest of the economy struggles. Idaho has enjoyed job growth across a wide variety of sectors. The balance of this job growth can be measured using a variant called the Diffusion Index.
When evaluating job growth, it is preferable to see growth in all sectors of the economy. Some states, like North Dakota for example, experienced rapid job growth associated with a boom in oil drilling. While the oil industry is a strong employer that brings many economic benefits, it is a more stable scenario to have a diversified economy.
The recession and Idaho’s continuing recovery have underscored a significant structural shift in the economy of the five-county Boise metropolitan area. Jobs at call centers and in computer chip manufacturing have moved in opposite directions.
Behind health care which has been steadily growing as the state population ages, call centers posted the second largest job gain of all subsectors from 2007 through 2013, while chip production posted the largest decline.
Employment and wages in each industry beginning in 1991 are tracked through two different recessions, using shift-share analysis from 2001 to 2013 to help explain the divergent employment trends.
Employment in semiconductor manufacturing grew steadily through the dot-com boom in the 1990s, adding 8,073 jobs between 1991 and 2001, but this trend reversed following the 2001 recession. Despite Idaho being one of the few states to escape that recession with no overall job losses, the semiconductor industry lost 2,387 jobs between 2001 and 2003 before experiencing a recovery that generated 827 jobs through 2006. The second recession, which began in December 2007, claimed 4,470 jobs between 2007 and 2010 – half the gains of the 1990s. Since then, the 2010 the recovery has been slow – with an increase of 855 jobs. Even with a modest gain, the industry lost more jobs from 2007 through 2013 than any other sector in the metro area, which includes Ada, Boise, Canyon, Gem and Owyhee counties.
Following the Great Recession there was an apparent divergence in employment recovery rates between urban centers and smaller cities, according to the authors of a recently published discussion paper.
Larger metropolitan statistical areas were experiencing more robust job growth than smaller ones. Analysis of Current Employment Statistics Total Nonfarm Employment data for Idaho, Oregon and Washington – each dominated by one large metro area – conform, demonstrating better employment growth in the dominate metro area compared to the other smaller cities and the states overall.
Nationally, most metropolitan areas experienced declines in jobs from peak to trough through 2007 to 2010. Ryan Howley, a U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics economist now at the Bureau of Economic Analysis, and Toby Paterson, a Washington State Employment Security Department economist point out in their June 2013 paper “Employment Recovery in Urban Areas following the Great Recession” that in the recovery period following the Great Recession trough, a pattern of steady but geographically uneven recovery emerged with larger urban centers experiencing higher job growth than medium and small areas.