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What is the single most important question about COVID-19 you think needs to be answered? Submit it for a special Idaho Matters Doctors Roundtable in English and Spanish.
Economy
The share of Idaho workers earning minimum wage has grown from 5 percent in 2011 to 7.7 percent in 2012. The growth has put Idaho in the top spot for the largest share of minimum wage workers in the country. How did that happen? And what’s being done to reverse the trend?

Bottom Rung: Why Building A Strong Idaho Economy Takes Public Investment

Call Center Job Fair
Molly Messick
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Boise State Public Radio

Bob Lokken, CEO of Boise-based WhiteCloud Analytics, is three years into building his new company. It designs software for health care professionals with the aim of allowing doctors and others to interrogate vast amounts of health care data. Lokken founded it after his previous company, ProClarity Corporation, was bought by Microsoft.

Recently, he showed me around the downtown office where software developers work intently behind large computer screens. I wasn’t there to talk about better health outcomes through guided data analysis; I was there to talk about Idaho’s workforce.

This week, StateImpact Idaho is reporting on low-wage work through its series “Bottom Rung.” Retired University of Idaho economist Stephen Cooke offers a blunt assessment of Idaho’s shifting employment picture. He believes the state is on a path toward a growing number of low-skilled, low-wage jobs.

“There was an era, a golden age, if you will, when high-tech manufacturing came to Idaho,” he says. “That era seems to be fading, and now we’re into an era of low-wage jobs associated with call centers and retail.”

I wanted to hear what an employer would say. Not just any employer, but someone in that bastion of high-skilled and high-wage jobs: the tech industry. Click here to continue reading...