As of October, Idaho has recovered faster than most other states from the sudden, enormous economic losses caused by the coronavirus shutdowns in March and April. Idaho’s long-term population and economic growth gives it strong upward economic momentum. In addition, the shutdowns in the state at that time did not as severely restrict economic activity as it did in many other states.
Despite Idaho’s relative success, it’s not back to normal, and 26,400 more Idahoans were unemployed in October than in February, according to seasonally adjusted labor force statistics from the Idaho Department of Labor. In the uncertain atmosphere caused by COVID-19 and a global economic slowdown, it’s likely that restoring all the jobs lost during the pandemic will take several months. Continue reading →
Tamarack Aerospace Group is continuing its rapid expansion and is on track to triple its space in Sandpoint with additional office and hanger facilities. The company, which successfully completed a restructuring and emerged from bankruptcy filings, is aiming to leverage the new space for intensified research and development. Source: Journal of Business
Lakeside Capital Group LLC is planning a large new residential development on more than 1,000 acres of land, located between Post Falls and Coeur d’Alene. The land, acquired by the developer last year, was recently rezoned from agricultural land to transitional use. The planned new residential community, called Coeur Terre, could potentially include more than 2,000 units in a mixture of single and multi-family developments. Source: Journal of Business
Hagadone Hospitality is working on a new mixed-use development in southeastern Coeur d’Alene, which will feature three 200-foot tall towers to include a mixture of hotel rooms, apartments and condominiums. The development is still in the planning stage, has not been assigned an address and does not have a concrete timeline for completion yet. Source: Journal of Business
COVID masking mandates in northern Idaho are in flux, with the Panhandle Health District rescinding its mask order and the city of Coeur d’Alene implementing a mask order of its own, which went into effect on Oct. 27. Coeur d’Alene Public Schools are currently facing a significant COVID-19 outbreak, with large numbers of students quarantined. Source: Coeur d’Alene Press
Fatbeam LLC – a Coeur d’Alene-based fiber provider – is introducing a new product called Cloudbeam, which will allow its customers to connect securely to cloud services. Cloudbeam will function as Fatbeam’s proprietary alternative to VPN (virtual private network) services. Source: Journal of Business
Engel & Volkers, a German-based international luxury real estate brokerage, has opened an office in Coeur d’Alene with plans for a Sandpoint office in 2021. Source: Journal of Business
Quest Integration Inc., a Post Falls technology firm providing support for the manufacture and design of 3D printers, has been acquired by Hawk Ridge Systems, a California-based manufacturer of 3D printing systems. Quest will continue to operate under that name during the integration process but will eventually operate under the Hawk Ridge name. Source: Journal of Business
Tamarack Aerospace Group, which successfully emerged from bankruptcy this year, is expanding its operations by adding a hanger and additional office space in Sandpoint, as well as a new facility in the United Kingdom. The new hanger space will be used for the installation of Tamarack’s fuel-efficiency boosting jet winglets. Source: Journal of Business
Construction is underway on a new five-story, 62-unit apartment complex in Coeur d’Alene’s Riverstone development. Completion is anticipated for fall, 2021. Source: Coeur d’Alene Press
Coeur d’Alene City Council voted to demolish two abandoned hotels in the city. The hotels were acquired by the city in a land swap with the local charity organization St. Vincent de Paul. A new use has not been confirmed for the land currently occupied by the hotels, but public parking and a pocket park have been suggested by the city’s planning officials. Source: Coeur d’Alene Press
Public schools in Coeur d’Alene have pushed back the start of school to Sept. 14 and will begin with a blended learning approach that combines online learning with classroom time. Students will attend school in person on alternate days (determined alphabetically by last name) to halve classroom size on any given day. Source: Coeur d’Alene Press
The annual Paul Bunyan Days festival in St. Maries has been cancelled due to COVID-19. The four-day event is normally held around Labor Day to celebrate St. Maries’ logging community. This is the first time in the 51-year history of the festival that it has been cancelled. Source: Coeur d’Alene Press
The Panhandle Health District approved a public mask mandate for Kootenai County. The mandate will make it a misdemeanor to be in public places without a mask in situations where social distancing is not possible. Source: Coeur d’Alene Press
StanCraft has expanded its development plans at the Coeur d’Alene Airport to include an additional hanger. The Hayden-based company has been building facilities for the retrofitting and customization of jet interiors, with two previously planned hangers expected to come online this fall and a new third hanger now planned for 2021. Source: Journal of Business
Fernan Lake has been placed under a public health advisory due to a toxic algae bloom. Residents and recreators have been advised to avoid contact with the water until the algae have subsided. Source: Spokesman Review
The 416,000 Idahoans who are in their 50s and 60s face many challenges because of the coronavirus economic impact.
Loss of business income. The COVID-19 pandemic has greatly reduced revenues of many Idaho businesses. It also is likely to lead to the permanent closure of some businesses, especially restaurants, entertainment operations, lodging and retail stores. Since older adults are more likely to run their own businesses, they are disproportionately impacted. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, about 24 percent of American workers 65 years and older are self-employed, while 15 percent of workers 55 to 64 years are self-employed. In comparison, 8 percent of workers under 55 are self-employed.
Joblessness. About 16 percent of Idaho’s 162,000 payroll workers 55 years and over filed new unemployment insurance claims between March 15 and June 13. Some returned to work within a month, but others experienced two or three months of joblessness.
Idaho’s Hispanic population grew faster than the state’s population in 2019, according to estimates recently released by the U.S. Census Bureau. The number of Hispanics in Idaho rose 3.3 percent from 222,206 in 2018 to 229,490 in 2019, while the total population grew 2.1 percent.
From 2010 to 2019, the state’s Hispanic population grew 30.5 percent, while its total population grew 14 percent.
Coeur d’Alene internet provider Intermax Networks has expanded into the Spokane market by acquiring Telwest Inc., a Spokane-based telecommunications provider. Source: Journal of Business
Kootenai County is on the shortlist of potential sites for a new manufacturing plant KORE Power – a battery manufacturer – is planning to build in the United States. KORE’s corporate operations are already located in Coeur d’Alene, but their manufacturing operations are currently in China. KORE plans to build a new plant in the United States which will employ roughly 3,000 people once fully operational. Source: CDA Press
A new report from the Environmental Protection Agency highlighted the successful completion of a variety of cleanup projects related to the Bunker Hill Superfund Site and laid out plans for an additional $20 million in cleanup work and construction through the end of 2020. Source: CDA Press
The fallout from COVID-19 has Idaho’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate soaring from a record low of 2.5 percent in March to a record high of 11.8 percent in April. With the lockdown phasing out in late May and early June in most of the state, many jobs are being restored. But the Idaho economy, as well as economies around the globe, may not rebound completely for some time.
More than one in four young Idahoans lost jobs
Teens and young adults experienced the most job losses during the first 10 weeks of the crisis. More than one in four (25.6 percent) Idaho workers under 35 years old filed new unemployment insurance claims between March 15 and May 23, while 15.7 of workers 35 years and older filed new claims.
Why did young people encounter especially large unemployment spikes? Youth make up a large proportion of the workforce of the two sectors with the most layoffs – leisure & hospitality and retail – which together accounted for 28 percent of all new unemployment claims. People under age 35 held 60 percent of leisure and hospitality jobs and 43 percent of retail jobs in 2019, according to the Census Bureau’s Quarterly Workforce Indicators. Youth are less likely to hold the managerial and professional jobs that could be done at home. In addition, employers typically lay off less experienced workers, while keeping those with greater seniority.
Schweitzer Mountain Resort executives are unveiling plans for $85 million in new development, including new runs, lifts and a previously planned boutique hotel. Resort executives said expansion is justified by robust annual attendance figures. Completion of the new hotel was slated to accommodate the opening of the 2020-21 ski season, but construction has been delayed due to COVID-19. Source: Spokane Journal of Business
The Kootenai Tribe has reopened the Kootenai River Inn Casino after nearly seven weeks of being closed due to COVID-19. The tribe paid all employee wages, including tips, during the shutdown and used the downtime to conduct improvements to the facility’s parking lot, swimming pool and casino space. Source: Coeur d’Alene Press
Downtown Coeur d’Alene is in the process of reopening according to the guidelines issued by the governor’s office. Restaurants have opened dine-in service with reduced capacity, and the Coeur d’Alene Resort has re-opened. Source: Coeur d’Alene Press
The Salvation Army’s Kroc Center has re-opened after the extended COVID-19 shutdown. Gym and swimming facilities will operate at a reduced capacity to limit crowding, and hours will be modified to accommodate an intensified cleaning schedule. Source: Coeur d’Alene Press
Silverwood Theme Park has announced plans to open May 30, with a variety of alterations to reduce crowding. Changes include limited daily attendance, complementary masks and reconfigured waiting lines. Source: Coeur d’Alene Press