For Immediate Release: June 14, 2018
Information Contact: Kandi Rudd 208-236-6710 ext. 3677 or Connie Gardner 208-557-2500 ext. 3547
“Growing Together,” a professional development opportunity for eighth-12th grade counselors, college and career advisors, and career and technical education professionals, is scheduled for Aug. 7-8 in two locations – Idaho State University in Pocatello and College of Eastern Idaho in Idaho Falls. Continue reading
Recent employment and economic projections indicate southeastern Idaho’s economy may finally be heating up.
For much of the last decade, southeastern Idaho’s economy has struggled to grow. Impacted by the previous recession, covered employment in the region increased less than 2 percent from 2004 to 2014. While the region saw impressive growth leading up to the recession, growing 8 percent from 2004 to 2007, employment in the region began to fall as the housing crisis affected the economy. After peaking in 2007, the region lost jobs the following four years. By 2011, covered employment in southeastern Idaho had fallen by more than 5,000 jobs.
Although the region began adding jobs each year since 2011, the tepid growth has done little to make up for the jobs lost during the recession. By the end of 2014, total covered employment was still 3,500 jobs shy of the region’s pre-recession peak, and total job growth over the decade increased less than 2 percent – well below the statewide growth of 10 percent over the same time.
Wage growth in the region has proven more resilient. The average wage in the region has increased from $26,370 in 2004 to $33,687 by 2014, growing by an annual average of 2.5 percent over the decade. This outpaced the statewide annual growth by a tenth of a percent. It should be noted however, that after accounting for inflation the actual buying power for the average wage earner improved slightly more than 2 percent over the decade.
For decades food manufacturing has been a critical source of employment and economic vitality in southeastern Idaho. Multiple generations have worked in this industry. However, recent trends show a clear decline in employment levels.
Historically, food manufacturing has been an economically resilient industry. “People always have to eat regardless of the economy” was the view, and southeastern Idaho has some of the best potatoes in the world. Many food manufacturers took advantage of the crop by locating large processing plants in the region.
Despite signs of an economic recovery nationally, the last several months regionally have seen some food manufacturing plants close and others lay off workers. The local economic impact will likely be severe. Continue reading