In a competitive labor market, wages are determined by the supply and demand of labor. Over time, a worker’s wages should increase as he or she gains proficiency in the job and obtains more valuable skill sets, or because of changes in the macro economy that influence the demand for those particular skill sets.
Although wages are only a portion of an individual’s income, they are a primary source of income for many Idahoans and an important indicator of their economic wellbeing. As an individual’s wages increase, so does his or her standard of living. This study will evaluate the wage growth of Idaho’s permanent workforce using data collected through Idaho’s unemployment insurance program from 2005 to 2014. Unless otherwise indicated, only those with reported earnings each year are included in the study.
Growth by Wage Group
For much of the past decade, the take home pay for Idaho wage earners has been on the rise. In 2005 the reported median annual wage for Idaho’s permanent workforce was $25,061. By 2014 the state’s median wage had increased to $35,146. The $10,000 increase marked 40 percent growth over the decade or 3.8 percent annually.