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
In economics, it can often seem that nothing happens for years at a time, only for years’ worth of change to happen all at once. The economy, in other words, can seem stable – or even boring – until suddenly it is not. In Idaho, for example, the changes in total nonfarm employment in April, May and June 2020 exceeded (in absolute terms) all the changes that occurred from 2015 to the end of 2019. Owing to the pandemic shock of COVID-19, three months saw more volatility in Idaho’s labor market than the preceding four years.
When economic events gain velocity, especially in the face of a serious recession, a variety of labor market indicators take on new importance, especially those updated monthly or even weekly, rather than quarterly or annually. Several labor market indicators can add to a real time understanding of economic conditions as a supplement to the Department of Labor’s headline statistics like unemployment rates and nonfarm employment numbers.
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
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
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
The Federal Communications Commission has approved $521,000 in funding for Red-Spectrum Communications, a broadband provider owned by the Coeur d’Alene Tribe, to expand access in Benewah County. Source: Journal of Business
The U.S. District Court has approved Tamarack Aerospace’s proposed reorganization plan. The Sandpoint winglet manufacturer has been pursuing a reorganization to allow it to emerge from ongoing Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Source: Journal of Business
Percussionaire, a Sandpoint manufacturer, has received clearance from the Food and Drug Administration to produce and distribute a new compact ventilator. The company has also massively ramped up production, from their typical rate of roughly 100 ventilators a month, to more than 1,000 per week. Source: Coeur d’Alene Press
Local food banks are facing significantly higher needs from the community in the wake of COVID-19-related job losses. The Kroc Center and the Silver Lake Mall are now hosting distribution of food as well as personal protective equipment and hygiene products. Source: Coeur d’Alene Press
Despite economic disruption from COVID-19, some construction has proceeded apace in Kootenai County. The Atlas Mill Site development project is moving forward, although construction has not yet begun, and commercial construction in Hayden is still occurring. Source: Coeur d’Alene Press
The Coeur Group, a volunteer group of professionals in Kootenai County, is providing a variety of services to affected residents through their COVID-19 task force. Services include running errands for health-compromised individuals who cannot go out in public, in addition to providing financial assistance to households struggling to meet basic expenses. Source: Coeur d’Alene Press
COVID-19 is having substantial economic impacts and causing significant job losses as non-essential businesses close. In Idaho, unemployment insurance claims spiked following implementation of Idaho’s stay-home order, with nearly 110,000 total claims filed in the first five weeks following the statewide emergency order. Since then, weekly initial claims averages are roughly 18 times greater than the weekly average in 2019.
While it will take time to understand the full economic impact of COVID-19, it is not too early to detect job loss patterns. Some industries are losing more jobs than others, and while some industry losses are not surprising — like movie theaters, restaurants and salons — others may be counterintuitive. Despite the strain on some parts of the health care industry to treat COVID-19, health care workers are losing their jobs because patients are putting off routine medial care and elective surgeries. Other people are avoiding emergency rooms and urgent care clinics due to fears of contracting COVID-19.
The COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic has created unprecedented disruptions to the economy. Each week in March brought news and developments that were historic and overshadowed the previous week’s developments. It has been impossible to keep up with the magnitude and volume of the economic impact affecting Idaho and its regions.
To document this event in Idaho, and the changes our state is experiencing from week to week, the Idaho Department of Labor is providing a weekly update. Pertinent events and data as it becomes available will be provided for each region in Idaho, the state as a whole and the context of the national economy.
The Coeur d’Alene Tribe received an Indian Housing Block Grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, worth just over $1 million. The grant will support affordable housing development in tribal communities. Source: Coeur d’Alene Press
Two manufacturers in Kootenai County – Advanced Thermoplastics Composites and Continuous Composites – are participating in a 10-week intensive training program with the US Air Force. The program provides special training for small manufacturers (with under 500 employers) developing structures and systems for unmanned aircraft. Source: Journal of Business
Six businesses in downtown Coeur d’Alene have been displaced by a building fire which led to a roof collapse. The structure fire effected Emerge Art Gallery, Cole Taylor Salon, Schmidty’s Burgers, Heart City Tattoo, Farmers Insurance Agency, and 720 Haberdashery. Source: Spokesman Review
Aspen Homes & Development has begun construction on a 20-unit apartment complex in Coeur d’Alene. The units will be roughly 1,200 square feet and priced around $1,400 per month. Source: Journal of Business
Idaho’s first “Holistic Chamber of Commerce” has opened in Post Falls. The chamber will target specifically environmentally friendly companies, ideas and products, with the self-described mission of representing “holistic professionals, practitioners, businesses and resource providers.” Source: Coeur d’Alene Press
Mainstream Electric, an electric, heating, cooling and plumbing company, is vacating its facility in Post Falls and moving its operations across the Washington border. The company, which employs 42 people, experienced 94 percent growth between 2015 and 2018, and has outgrown its space in northern Idaho. Source: Coeur d’Alene Press
Hecla Mining Company and miners of the United Steelworkers Union 5114 have agreed to a new labor contract, ending a strike lasting 1,030 days. Hecla plans to bring workers back in phases and hopes to bring the Lucky Friday mine back up to full production this year. Source: Shoshone News-Press