Tourism is a major industry in the United States, and Idaho is no exception. According to the Idaho Department of Commerce from the U.S. Travel Association, Idaho’s tourism industry is a $3.4 billion job-creating engine.
A report produced by the Idaho Department of Commerce found tourist spending totaled $1.77 billion in 2010 statewide. But gross sales receipts indicate that tourism-related spending is not spread evenly throughout the state. Seven counties claimed 74 percent of that spending. Ada County alone takes in 33 percent.
Idaho’s economy has generated about 16,000 nonfarm jobs in 2013. Health care, manufacturing, leisure and hospitality and construction were the most expansive sectors, accounting for 64 percent of the growth. The majority of jobs in every case were in southwestern Idaho, the state’s population center.
The biggest share was in manufacturing, which generated 16.5 percent of the new jobs, with durable manufacturing carrying the load. Since wages are typically higher in durable manufacturing than nondurable, those new jobs accounted for two-thirds of the $300 million in new wages that sector provided. The opening of the Chobani Greek yogurt plant in Twin Falls boosted nondurable manufacturing.