Labor productivity is an important indicator for not just the labor market but Idaho’s overall economy. Wages are closely linked to labor’s marginal product, or the last unit of revenue produced from the last unit of labor employed. When markets are competitive and lack any frictions that impede price adjustments, wage and productivity growth will be equal.
If productivity increases at a high growth rate and appears to continue for the foreseeable future (for example, continued investments in research and development, improved education and workforce training), it might be inferred that wages will grow at a similar pace; if productivity is expected to grow at a negligible rate or decline, however, wages can be expected to move similarly.
While average wage gains seem to fit in an orderly pattern over the past 10 years, large differences exist in how these gains have been distributed among lower and higher wage earners.
Average wage increases provide one view of an economy’s current situation but looking at wages by percentiles shows where hourly income growth and declines are occurring.
Each percentile represents 1% of the labor force with hourly wages arranged in order from least to greatest. For example, the 10th percentile represents wages paid to the lowest 10% of the labor population. Wages in the 90th percentile are those paid to 90% of the working population. Any wages above the 90th percentile represent the top 10% of total wage earners.
The 50th percentile, also called the median, represents the midpoint value in a data series where half of the values (wages in this case) are below and half are above. The median differs from the average, which is calculated by adding up all the individual values and dividing the total by the number of values. The average wage may be a great tool for gauging overall change trends, but this figure can also be skewed by significant outliers on either extreme of wage distribution.
This analysis focuses on Idaho’s median wages for each of the percentiles reported by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: 10%, 25%, 50%, 75% and 90%.
Karelyn Kruger, 45, is in her second year of a five-year training program as an electrical apprentice for Quality Electric in Boise. She’s creating a second career after working in retail and raising two children.
“I’m older than the average student,” she says with a wry grin. “I’m too old to go into debt and go back to college, so it seemed like a great opportunity to learn a trade, and they’d pay for my education while providing on-the-job training.”
Idaho recorded a sharp increase in the statewide average wage in 2020. Nominal wages grew by 7.7% and real wages grew by 6.4%, outpacing wage growth over the past decade. Annual average wages for the state are shown in Figure 2-1.
Wages are expressed in both nominal terms and real wages, with real wages adjusted for inflation using the consumer price index. Following a precipitous drop in 2008, Idaho’s average real wage remained largely flat with an average growth rate of about 0.1%. Growth picked up in 2014 and remained steady, keeping up with inflation through 2020.Continue reading →
The beef life cycle is one of the most complex of any food, taking anywhere from two to three years to bring beef from farm to fork. This process involves multiple stakeholders, beginning with farmers and ranchers and ending with packing plant workers. Traditionally, the U.S. beef industry has been comprised of three main sectors ‒ cattle production, feedlots and meat processing. The packing sector is the primary driving factor in the beef industry’s vertical supply chain. The packers are the market outlet for the feeding sector and in turn, the feedlots are the primary market outlet for the cow-calf producers.
An overview of Idaho’s beef industry shows the cattle production sector’s total cow-calf inventory has grown slightly faster than the national average. A 2019 January industry snapshot shows Idaho’s cattle inventory stood at 2.5 million cows and calves, raised across 7,400 farm operations. This inventory comprised 504,000 beef cows that had calved and 625,000 milk cows that had calved. About 48% of this inventory was in south central Idaho, which has a competitive cattle production advantage in forage and crop aftermath grazing resources compared with the rest of the state.
For Immediate Release: Oct. 3, 2018 Information Contact: Robert Kabel (208) 332-3570 ext. 3886
Ada County’s weekly average wage increased 5.1 percent from the first quarter of 2017 to the first quarter of 2018 according to county employment and wage information released Wednesday by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Ada County’s percentage increase to a weekly average wage of $943 ranked it 34th among the 349 largest U.S. counties. Nationally, the average weekly wage increased 3.7 percent to $1,152 in the first quarter of 2018. The BLS also reported Ada County’s employment increased by 4.5 percent from March 2017 to March 2018. Employment and wage levels (but not over-the-year changes) are also available for Idaho’s other 43 counties. Details: https://www.bls.gov/regions/west/news-release/countyemploymentandwages_idaho.htm
What does the average machinist in Idaho make? How many people are working in Idaho as diesel mechanics? What is the entry-level wage for fast food cooks? What’s a reasonable wage range for carpenters? Would I get higher pay as a registered nurse working in Boise or in Idaho Falls? Would I earn more as a plumber or as an electrician?
Once a year, the Idaho Department of Labor publishes answers to those questions and thousands of others in the form of the Occupational Employment and Wage Survey (OEWS).
As Idaho’s economy continues to flourish, wages are also increasing. Accounting for statewide job growth from 2012 forward, Idaho has seen a 2 percent to 3 percent increase in total annual private sector wage growth, up 17 percent over the past decade. Wage growth rate variances depend on an array of factors including economic situation, location, industry, job growth and demand. Demographics also show a distinction in wage appropriation and growth with gender as a demographic that is frequently discussed.
Traditionally, men and woman have held different, but essential roles in America’s economic success. Initially women filled specific, ‘white collar’ service occupations such as clerical and administrative. As time passed women integrated themselves into all industries, especially during World War II when they stepped into jobs typically held by men. Another shift occurred when men returned from the war to their jobs.
The state of Washington’s high minimum wage puts pressure on wages in northern Idaho, especially in the communities closest to the border — Lewiston, Moscow, Coeur d’Alene, Post Falls and the Priest River area. With Washington’s jump from $9.47 to $11 per hour on Jan. 1, 2017, wage pressures on the Idaho side increased.
In November 2015, the Washington Legislature approved Initiative 1433, which will increase its minimum wage incrementally until it reaches $13.50 an hour in 2020. After that, it will automatically increase with the cost of living. Three other states – Arizona, Colorado and Maine – also passed initiatives in November increasing their minimum wages. All three will raise their wages incrementally until they reach $12 in 2020. Prior to the election, California, New York and Oregon already established pathways to $12 an hour or more in the coming years. Altogether, 29 states and the District of Columbia now have minimum wages above the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour. In addition, some cities impose minimum wages above their states’ minimum wages. For example, Seattle’s minimum wage for larger employers is set to increase to $15 by 2020.
Many factors have affected the economic picture on international, national, state and local levels over the past five to 10 years.
In Southwestern Idaho one example is a strong population growth. Over the decade from 2005 to 2015, this region’s population increased from nearly 617,000 to 750,000, a 22 percent increase. The two urban counties, Canyon and Ada, grew faster than this rate, while the other eight counties grew slower, highlighting the continually deepening divide in urban-rural population growth that is occurring across Idaho.