Jobs

Idaho's Jobless Rate Drops As The Workforce Shrinks

Sep 19, 2014
job fair, Meridian, unemployment
Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

Idaho's August jobless rate ticked down a tenth of a percent after a slight increase in July. The Idaho Department of Labor reports the state's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate of 4.7 percent declined because 600 workers left the labor force, the second-straight month the workforce has shrunk.

Most workers hired in August filled vacant jobs. The Labor Department reports new hires were lower than August 2013.

SkyWest, airplane, airport
Aero Icarus / Flickr Creative Commons

SkyWest Airlines has chosen Boise for the site of its new $20 million maintenance facility, a project state leaders tout was made possible by a newly-created tax incentive program.

In June, Boise Mayor David Bieter announced SkyWest would open a maintenance facility at the Boise Airport, using an existing hangar at the Jackson Jet Center. He said then that SkyWest was considering expanding that facility in Boise.

Idaho's Workforce Has Shrunk More Than Most States

Aug 19, 2014
cubicle, office, desk, job
Nancy / Flickr Creative Commons

Fewer Idahoans, nearly 6 percent, are working today than in 2007 before the Great Recession began.

State-by-state analysis of employment data, from calendar year 2007 to fiscal year 2014, show only two other states have seen a greater workforce decline among 25- to 54-year-olds.

Ellevate

A former Wall Street executive is bringing her message of gender equity to Boise. Sallie Krawcheck is scheduled to deliver a keynote address at a conference of small business people Tuesday.

Krawcheck used to oversee the world's largest wealth management company. Today, she champions the cause of diversity in corporate leadership.

4435Russet / Flickr Creative Commons

The J.R. Simplot Company has delayed the closure of two potato processing plants in Idaho.

Simplot spokesman David Cuoio told the Capital Press that layoffs at the Aberdeen plant are now expected to happen in September, and the Nampa plant will likely close Oct. 31.

The company initially planned to close both facilities this spring, but decided to keep them open longer after getting more customer orders than expected.

Officials with the Elks Rehab System in Boise have sent letters to local mayors announcing layoffs associated with St. Luke’s takeover of Elks facilities. Elks officials say significant financial and operational challenges are forcing it to hand over its operations to the Idaho healthcare giant. 

A breakdown in a U.S. State Department computer system that processes foreign worker visas has sowed major worries at some Northwest orchards.

Washington Governor Jay Inslee tried to woo electric carmaker Tesla Motors to build a massive battery factory in the Evergreen state. But according to at least one report, the company may have already broken ground near Reno, Nevada.

Idaho's Jobless Rate Hits 6 Year Low

Jun 20, 2014
OSJOBFAIR / Flickr Creative Commons

Idaho’s jobless rate has dipped below 5 percent for the first time in almost six years. 

The Idaho Labor Department reports May’s seasonally adjusted jobless rate was 4.9 percent, that's as total employment grew by 1,000 jobs from April to May.

In May of 2013, nearly 50,000 Idahoans didn’t have jobs. This May, about 38,000 people were out of work.

Dave Bieter
Dave Bieter's Facebook Page / City of Boise

Boise Mayor David Bieter announced Friday that SkyWest Airlines is opening a maintenance facility at the Boise Airport.

During his annual State of the City speech, Bieter said the facility will use an existing hangar at the Jackson Jet Center. “While we’re not sure yet the total number of jobs, we do know they will be able to service three large planes every night,” Bieter says. “And the wages they will pay will serve a family well.”

The federal government is providing $4.2 million of federal assistance to workers recently laid off at the J.R. Simplot Company and an Idaho Falls call center.

The U.S. Department of Labor announced Thursday that $2.6 million will be available for the 435 workers who were laid off from August 2013 to April of this year at J.R. Simplot facilities.

Another $1.6 million will be allocated to the nearly 200 workers who were affected by a March 31 closure at Center Partners call center in Idaho Falls.

A Boise-based construction supply and services company says it's moving its headquarters to Atlanta because it wants access to a larger population and better airline service.

The Idaho Department of Labor is holding a session this week to help hundreds of people in north Idaho who will lose their jobs when Coldwater Creek goes out of business.

Public Or Private? See The Top 5 Employers In Your Idaho County

Apr 29, 2014

Exactly half of Idaho's top employers in each of its 44 counties are private businesses, while the other half are government entities.

That's a change from 2012 when we reported on the same data. Then, the top employers in 28 counties were public and 16 were private sector businesses.

Data that companies submitted to the Idaho Department of Labor in 2013 show the top five employers in all 44 counties, and how many people each employs.

money, dollars, wages
401(K)2013 / Flickr Creative Commons

Idaho's average wage increased by almost 20 cents last year. But wage growth isn't keeping up with the national average. 

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics' Occupational Employment Survey finds Idaho's average hourly wage for all jobs was $18.67 last year, that's up 19 cents from 2012. Still, Idaho's average wage was almost 84 percent of the national average, which is $22.33 an hour.  

The survey also found that half of Idaho's hourly employees earned $14.68 or less in 2013. That's a 10 cent increase from 2012. 

A Boise call center that helps people sign up for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act is laying off nearly its entire work force as the federal exchange open enrollment period ends.

Maximus Inc. hired about 1,800 people for the Boise facility last year.

In a letter to employees on Monday, company officials announced that 1,600 employees will be laid off in April because they won't be needed when the federal enrollment period ends. Company officials say some employees may be hired back this fall, in preparation for the next enrollment period.

Classroom
Malate269 / Wikimedia Commons

A legislative proposal could clear the way for Idaho's smallest school districts and charter schools to hire the spouses of their board members.

Rep. Marc Gibbs, a Republican lawmaker from Grace, said Tuesday that smaller schools face problems when the only qualified applicant for a position is married to a board member.

A district or charter school that wants to hire a board member's spouse must have less than 1,200 students to qualify, and must first advertise the position for 60 days, or for 15 days if the vacancy crops up during the school year.

Scott Graf / Boise State Public Radio

The new head of Idaho's Labor Department says the state needs to shift its focus to better paying jobs that will help grow the state's economy. 

Ken Edmunds is now in his second month as the head of Idaho’s Labor Department. The Twin Falls businessman replaced longtime labor director Roger Madsen in late November.   

Idaho's share of the now-expiring extended federal unemployment benefit program is ending at $800 million in payments, with the last 2,500 long-term unemployed workers in the state getting their final cut this week.

Congress didn't renew the extended benefit program that began in 2008, just after the recession began, to ease pain of escalating unemployment amid the housing bubble's burst and deep dip of the stock market.

But the extended program is just a share of money paid out to jobless people since 2008.

Idaho's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate fell by a record sixth-tenths of a percentage point to 6.1 percent in November.

The state Labor Department said Friday the rate matches the post-recession low posted last spring and the decline is double the previous record one-month swing of three-tenths of a percentage point.

The agency says about 3,800 more Idahoans were at work in November, with total unemployment dropping to 47,300, the lowest level since last spring.

In November 2012, Idaho's unemployment rate was 6.5 percent with over 50,000 people out of work.

About 45,000 people in the Northwest will face the new year without the unemployment benefits they've come to rely on.

The holiday season will mean an end to unemployment checks for about 1.3 million Americans, including about 45,000 jobless in Washington, Oregon and Idaho. 

Northwest farmers hired significantly more foreign guest workers this season under a special immigration program.

Call Center Job Fair
Molly Messick / Boise State Public Radio

Idaho's unemployment insurance claims dropped to their lowest level since 2006, a year of strong economic growth that preceded the deep recession that began in December 2007.

The Department of Labor said Monday it paid 7,462 regular benefit claims during the third week of November, 14 fewer than that week in 2006.

The amount paid was still 23 percent higher than 2006, however, because the average benefit is $25 higher this year at $255, reflecting benefit increases over the past seven years.

job fair, Meridian, unemployment
Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

Idaho's jobless rate held steady in September, and dropped slightly in October. The Idaho Labor Department reports the unemployment rate was unchanged from August to September at 6.8 percent. It fell in October to 6.7 percent.

Normally, jobless rates come out once a month. Friday’s two-for-one report was released because of the partial government shutdown over the first two weeks of October.

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