© 2022 Boise State Public Radio

For assistance accessing our public files, please contact us at boisestatepublicradio@boisestate.edu or call (208) 426-3663.
NPR in Idaho
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations
Do you remember Idaho's unemployment rate just as the recession was being noticed? It was 3%. The National Bureau of Economic Research said the great recession started in December 2007 and ended in June 2009. Since those declarations, Idaho's unemployment rate climbed to its peak of 8.8% in August 2010. By August 2011 it had dropped to 8.4%, and by August 2012 it was down to 7%.

Idaho’s Most Unique Job Is So Unique You May Not Have Heard Of It

Miguel Vieira
Flickr Creative Commons
At 2,140, Idaho has nearly 16 times "more 'forest and conservation technicians' than would be expected based on the national average."

Today’s trivia question: what does Idaho have a larger share of than any other state?

There’s a good chance you’re thinking “potatoes” right now, but according to Stateline it’s “forest and conservation technicians.” This branch of the Pew Charitable Trusts’ research team, has published a map of the most unique job in each state.

At 2,140, Idaho has nearly 16 times “more ‘forest and conservation technicians’ than would be expected based on the national average.”

At this point you may be wondering, “what the heck’s a forest and conservation technician?”  Well, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) they…

“Provide technical assistance regarding the conservation of soil, water, forests, or related natural resources. May compile data pertaining to size, content, condition, and other characteristics of forest tracts, under the direction of foresters; or train and lead forest workers in forest propagation, fire prevention and suppression. May assist conservation scientists in managing, improving, and protecting rangelands and wildlife habitats.”

In Idaho, the annual average wage for this job is $35,920. But if you’re thinking a career change that would keep you in the great outdoors sounds nice, BLS projects numbers in this field to drop slightly in the next few years. But BLS says demand for biomass and increasing numbers of people living in and around forests will help prospects for this job overall.  

California and Oregon actually have more total forest and conservation technicians than Idaho. And Montana has a higher percentage of technicians compared to total population.

But according to Stateline’s map Montana’s most unique job is “loading machine operators in underground mining.”

As for Idaho’s other neighbors, Washington’s most unique job is, “aircraft structure, surfaces, rigging and systems assemblers.” Oregon’s is “logging workers.” Nevada’s is, no surprise, “gaming supervisors.” Utah has an unusually high number of, “continuous mining machine operators,” and Wyoming is high in, “extraction workers.”

Find Adam Cotterell on Twitter @cotterelladam

Copyright 2015 Boise State Public Radio