In the nine years of growth following the recession of 2008-09, Idaho’s economy has created roughly 118,000 jobs. This amounts to a total growth of 17 percent over the low point of the recession, when Idaho’s total employment fell to 686,600 in March 2008. In comparison, total employment across the United States has grown by roughly 13 percent above its recession low point. Comparing growth rates – whether between states, regions or counties – only tells part of the story, however. Idaho’s job creation performance can be better evaluated in context of the state’s demographics.
The premise of this analysis is relatively straightforward. The notion of a healthy labor market – usually termed “full employment” – infers that jobs are abundant enough to employ everyone who wants to be employed. This implies job creation should be measured against the number of potential workers.