Long-time Idaho Department of Labor analyst and friend of many Kathryn A. Tacke died suddenly of natural causes Friday, July 2, 2021, at her home in Lewiston.
Kathryn began her Idaho Labor career as a labor market analyst in 1988, serving the five most northern Idaho counties from the Coeur d’Alene office. She transferred to the Lewiston office in 2009 to serve region 2, which includes Latah, Lewis, Clearwater, Idaho and Nez Perce counties.
Highly respected in her field, Kathryn provided economic data to industry, education, local and state government and nonprofit organizations. She knew how to communicate complicated data information in her interactions with customers, in presentations and in her writing. She cherished her relationships with other Idaho Labor economists and was often called upon to teach methods and process.
Editor’s note: Regional economist Kathryn Tacke passed away unexpectedly on July 2. This is the last article she submitted for publication. Her previous articles can be found at Labor’s Idaho@Work blog.
What a difference a year makes. In April 2020, the pandemic and its effects pushed Idaho’s unemployment rate to an all-time high of 11.6%. This April, media across Idaho reported on labor shortages and how some businesses are struggling to stay open because they can’t find enough workers. The labor shortages are widespread — not only showing up in the state’s fast-growing urban areas, but also in rural communities. The businesses finding it hardest to recruit workers are construction firms, home care agencies, employers of certified nurse aides, restaurants, motels, trucking and package delivery companies and some manufacturers. School districts throughout the state are finding it difficult to hire substitute teachers and paraprofessionals.
Why has the job market become so tight? Before the pandemic, labor shortages were common. Now, thousands of Idaho employers are trying to make their normal seasonal hires and add new jobs as the state continues its recovery and growth in manufacturing and construction industries accelerates. This article explains the complex reasons for all the “help wanted” signs in Idaho and why employers are getting little or no response to want ads.
Riverstone Holdings is developing a mixed-use building in the Riverstone district. The new building will include office space for rent on the ground floor, three floors of condos above and underground parking. The project is slated for completion in summer 2022. Source: Journal of Business
The Coeur d’Alene Ironman race was successfully completed, after COVID-19 forced a cancellation in 2021. The triathlon – which features a 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike ride and 26.2-mile run – was the first full-distance ironman race held in Coeur d’Alene since 2017 and drew about 2,100 competitors to the area. Source: Coeur d’Alene Press
The city of Hayden’s Planning and Zoning Commission approved a plan to turn the Hayden Meadows soccer complex into a housing subdivision. The 10-acre field was acquired, along with two adjacent properties, by Kulka Land LLC, which plans to turn the parcel into a 53-unit single family subdivision. Source: Coeur d’Alene Press
The Coeur d’Alene School District delayed the opening of a new planned magnet school until the 2022-2023 school year. District officials cited financial constraints as the reason. The magnet school will offer a hybrid learning model with a community service focus. Roughly 200 students are already enrolled in the school. Source: Coeur d’Alene Press
A new four-story mixed commercial and residential building will be built in Coeur d’Alene’s Riverstone development. The building will include office spaces on the first floor with condo units on the higher floors. Source: Coeur d’Alene Press
Kootenai County’s Community Development office produced a 22-page report on potential growth management strategies and is seeking public comments and participation. Kootenai County has been growing by roughly 2.5% per year over the last decade, and the Kootenai Metropolitan Planning Organization projects that the population of the county will grow by more than 130,000 by 2040. Source: Spokane Journal of Business
Work is now underway on a major Idaho Department of Transportation improvement project on State Route 41 between Post Falls and Rathdrum. The work includes widening the highway with additional lanes in both directions as well as new traffic lights and improved railroad crossings. The $131 million project is scheduled for completion in 2022. Source: Journal of Business
Coeur d’Alene Schools suspended its mask requirement for staff and students and replaced it with a mask recommendation. Mandatory masks for students have been a continued source of consternation for Coeur d’Alene parents. Source: CDA Press
The Panhandle Health District has opened COVID-19 vaccine eligibility to all persons 16 and older. To date, the health district has administered roughly 90,000 doses, or 85% of its 106,000 distributed doses. Source: Coeur d’Alene Press
Amid falling COVID-19 case counts and dropping test positivity rates, Panhandle Health District has rescinded the masking mandate for the five northern counties. Source: Coeur d’Alene Press
The Idaho Transportation Department has begun a multiyear improvement project on State Route 41 between Post Falls and Rathdrum. The work will include widening the highway with additional lanes and a median, as well as safety improvements including bridges over railroad crossings and new traffic signals. The $131 million multiphase project is slated for completion in 2023. Source: Journal of Business
Construction has begun on the Atlas Mill site in Coeur d’Alene. The first phase of work on the mixed residential and commercial redevelopment will include 30 single family homes, 24 townhomes and 150 multifamily units. Two more construction phases will subsequently add additional residential, retail and office space. Source: Journal of Business
J.C. Penny announced it will close its store in the Silver Lake Mall in Coeur d’Alene. This pending closure will shutter the last J.C. Penny in northern Idaho, following the closure of stores in Lewiston, Moscow and Ponderay. Source: Spokesman Review
The Idaho Division of Veteran Services plans to proceed with construction of a 64-room home for veterans in Post Falls. The 83,000-square-foot skilled nursing facility is slated for completion in 2022. It will be Idaho’s fourth veterans home and the first in northern Idaho. Source: Journal of Business
Redevelopment of the former Atlas Mill site in Coeur d’Alene is underway, with the first phase now scheduled for the first half of 2021 to include a mix of housing. The first development phase includes 24 townhomes, 54 single family homes and 93 multifamily units along with a mix of retail and office space. Altogether, this first phase of construction will use four of the Atlas Mill site’s 13 development plats. Source: Journal of Business
Kenworth Trucks is planning to build a new facility in Post Falls to offer parts, sales, service and leasing. Source: Coeur d’Alene Press
MetalQuest Unlimited, a precision machine manufacturer based in Nebraska, has chosen Post Falls for its new manufacturing facility. The company, which specializes in precision production for clients in oil, agriculture and firearms manufacturing, expects to begin production at its new Post Falls facility by the end of January, with roughly 25 employees at first. Source: Coeur d’Alene Press
Health care providers in Kootenai County have received the first batches of COVID-19 vaccine and have begun vaccinating frontline medical staff. Source: Coeur d’Alene Press
The JC Penny in the Silver Lake Mall is now slated to close in the spring after being included in the company’s recent list of planned store closures. The store had been an anchor tenant of the Silver Lake Mall and was the last remaining JC Penny in North Idaho following the previous closures of stores in Lewiston and Ponderay. Source: Coeur d’Alene Press
The Post Falls City Council approved the purchase of a $415,000 parcel of riverfront property, which was the final privately held plot in the Post Falls Water Treatment Facility’s easement to the Spokane River. The parcel is expected to be acquired in anticipation of a future expansion of the city’s wastewater treatment capacity. Source: Coeur d’Alene Press
CK Barrel Room
Inland Northwest Veterinary Dentistry & Oral Surgery
The Panhandle Health District approved a mask mandate for all five northern counties, effective for 60 days. All five counties are currently in the “red” category for COVID cases, with high test positive rates and hospitals nearing or at full capacity. Source: Coeur d’Alene Press
Northwest Specialty Hospital has terminated an agreement with MultiCare Health System, which would have allowed MultiCare to become the majority owner of the hospital. Northwest Specialty will instead enter into a new agreement with Mountain View Hospital of Idaho Falls which will allow Northwest Specialty to remain physician-owned and operated. Source: Journal of Business
The city of Post Falls adopted a city-wide mask recommendation and a mask requirement on city property. The city also has begun revising guidelines to reduce occupancy at city facilities to align with Idaho’s movement back to Stage 2 COVID requirements. Source: Coeur d’Alene Press
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 →