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Politics & Government

Gov. Brad Little floats pay raise to attract and retain state workers

Help Wanted
Ted Shaffrey
A hiring sign is in front of a Target store in Manchester, Connecticut, on Tuesday, November 39, 2021.

Private businesses aren’t the only ones scrambling to find workers. America’s “Great Resignation” is affecting state government, too.

The state of Idaho’s workforce vacancy rate has nearly doubled to 12% from its usual levels, according to Alex Adams, budget chief for Gov. Brad Little.

“In November, we had 2,600 unfilled positions,” Adams said. “We also have the challenge of rising inflation and rising home prices.”

Wages for state employees have long lagged behind equivalent jobs in the private sector.

Little proposed a 2% raise for all state employees and another 3% raise based on a worker’s annual evaluation.

But even if that pay hike is approved by Idaho lawmakers, it doesn’t come close to the country’s inflation spike. According to a Bloomberg report that will be released Wednesday, costs tracked by the consumer price index for December are expected to rise by 7%.

Nationwide, more than 4.5 million people quit their jobs in November. Some are making the leap to higher paying jobs, although, as a state economist told Idaho lawmakers last week, a significant chunk is made up of retirees – early or otherwise.

Many others have quit working to take care of children or family members. Men without children is the only group that has increased its participation in the labor force.

Lawmakers will make their recommendation on a potential state worker pay raise later this month.

Follow James Dawson on Twitter @RadioDawson for more local news.

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