Making Money In Idaho, A Guide To Wages

As it is in many U.S. states, income in Idaho is on an upward trend. Idaho lost ground in per capita personal income from 2009-2011 as it recovered from the Great Recession. But what’s also growing is the gap between personal income in Idaho and in the national as a whole.

Data from the Bureau of Economic Analysis show Idahoans earned less in 2012 than residents of almost every other state in the country.

A closer look at hourly wages reveals half of Idaho’s workforce earned $14.58 an hour or less in 2012. The hourly wage in Idaho, on average, is $18.48.

Idaho also had a larger share of hourly workers earning minimum wage in 2012 than ever before. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates 31,000 Idahoans made $7.25 an hour or less in 2012. That’s a 63 percent increase from 2011.

Report Finds Idaho Wages And Rents Don't Match Up

Jun 13, 2018
Derek K. Miller / Flickr

Despite Idaho’s rural character, the state isn’t exempt from issues of housing affordability associated with more developed regions. A new report from the National Low Income Housing Coalition finds a disparity between Idaho wages and the cost of rent.

For Sale Coldwell Banker House Sold
Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

A new Bloomberg analysis looks at the widening gap between the rich and the poor in cities across the nation. 

Brenda Gottsabend/Flickr Creative Commons

Idaho and Colorado saw some of the nation's leading growth in wages this past year. But other western states, including Montana and Wyoming, lagged behind according to the latest report from the federal Bureau of Economic Analysis.

Idaho Weekly Wages On The Rise, Still Lag Nationally

Dec 20, 2016
money, dollars, wages
401(K)2013 / Flickr Creative Commons

Weekly wages in Idaho’s private sector are on the rise, according to a recent report out by the state’s Department of Labor.

Weekly earnings have increased by $30 from the second quarter of 2015 to the second quarter of this year, according to the report.

The 4.2 percent growth rate that’s pushed the weekly wage up to 743 dollars is double the national average. Robust growth like that puts Idaho in fourth place nationally for over-the-year wage growth.

U.S. Census Bureau

The 2014 American Community Survey from the U.S. Census Bureau gives a county by county and even neighborhood by neighborhood look at something most of us probably know: Idaho was in worse shape after the Great Recession. For the first time this year the census allows people to compare two non-overlapping five-year periods. Those are 2005-2009 and 2010-2014, a rough approximation of before the recession and after it.  

Less Money

Why Idaho May Be The Best Place To Be A Nurse

Sep 16, 2015
Drexel University

When my wife became a nurse I suggested we move to Oregon where RNs make in excess of $20,000 a year more than in Idaho. I was joking (mostly) but that gap is hard to ignore. And it’s not much smaller for Washington or Nevada. Now a new info-graphic from Drexel University says we should ignore those raw salary numbers because Idaho is financially the best place to be a nurse.

Construction Worker
Molly Messick / StateImpact Idaho

Idaho workers saw the largest per capita income increase in the country in 2013, according to data recently released by the federal Bureau of Economic Analysis. The 2.4 percent increase was substantially higher than 0.1 percent increase seen nationally.

5 Ways To Visualize Poverty And Wealth In Garden City

May 18, 2015
Census

You can’t understand Garden City, Idaho without understanding that compared to the cities surrounding it, it's a place of poverty and wealth and not much in between. That was the theme of one of the stories in our recent series, Growing Garden City.

Effort To Raise Idaho's Minimum Wage Focuses On North Idaho Town

Apr 6, 2015

The Coeur d'Alene Press reports a former lawmaker and minimum wage increase advocate Anne Nesse has submitted paperwork to get a minimum wage increase on the local ballot. Voters may have the chance to raise the local minimum wage from $7.25 an hour to $8.75 in 2016, then $10.25 in 2017.

Scott Graf / Boise State Public Radio

Real estate data company RealtyTrac says Boise is in better shape than most of the country when it comes to the difference between wages and home prices.

RealtyTrac looked at wage growth and home price growth from 2012 to 2014 in the nation’s 184-largest metro areas. Nationally, price growth outpaced wage growth 13-to-one. RealtyTrac vice president Daren Blomquist says in Boise, it was closer to four-to-one.

BES Photo / Flickr Creative Commons

An Idaho House committee Wednesday introduced a revised plan for increasing teacher pay.

But Rep. Ryan Kerby, R-New Plymouth, said the new version doesn’t fix a potentially divisive issue he said could backfire on the state.

Under the plan, experienced teachers who meet a high bar of performance criteria would be eligible for $4,000 bonuses called “master premiums.”

This story was updated at 5:30 p.m.

The latest revision of a bill to boost teacher pay in Idaho over the next five years showed promise of passing early Wednesday morning, but the legislation was killed just eight hours later.

The House Education Committee is now slated to vote on introducing a third amended version of the legislation Thursday.

The proposal presented Wednesday would have bumped beginning teacher pay from $31,750 to $32,700 a year. But Republican Rep. Ryan Kerby from New Plymouth balked at the way pay bonuses were structured.

A plan to give Idaho teachers significant raises over five years has finally taken shape in the Idaho legislature.

A panel in the Idaho Senate introduced a bill that would increase the state’s minimum wage to $9.25 an hour -- a $2 per hour increase -- by next year. 

U.S. Dept. of Education / Flickr Creative Commons

One of the Idaho Legislature's most anticipated proposals to boost teacher pay has finally been revealed just nine days before lawmakers begin setting the state's public education budget.

The Idaho House Education Committee listened to the plan Friday but did not vote on any legislation.

Under the plan, beginning teacher pay would bump up from $31,750 to $33,000 per year school starting in fiscal year 2016 and eventually increase to $37,000 over five years.

Idaho Democrats' plan to raise the state's minimum wage to $9.25 per hour over the next two years might be over before it begins.

Sen. Curt McKenzie, who chairs the GOP-controlled Senate State Affairs Committee, started the hearing Friday by saying he didn't anticipate any more discussions on the bill.

The bill was introduced unanimously with no discussion, mainly as a courtesy to minority party leadership.

Idaho Center for Fiscal Policy

Idaho lawmakers are talking behind the scenes about creating a flat-rate income tax and raising the sales tax, a proposal the non-partisan  Idaho Center for Fiscal Policy says would increase taxes for everyone who makes less than $173,000 a year.

Kyle Green
Courtesy Idaho Statesman

Boise State University football coach Bryan Harsin has a new contract that pays him $6.25 million over five years.

The Idaho State Board or Education on Thursday approved the deal for Harsin who in his first season last year guided the Broncos to a 12-2 record and a Fiesta Bowl win.

The new deal replaces a previous contract that awarded Harsin a one-year extension for winning nine or more games.

The new agreement awards a one-year extension for eight or more wins.

Jessica Robinson / Northwest News Network

The starting salary for Idaho teachers is lower than in Washington, Oregon, and three other surrounding states. Superintendents in Idaho border towns say that has left them with shortages.

The salary for a first-year teacher in Idaho is around $31,000. It doesn’t help that St. Maries, a school district in north Idaho, is only 30 miles from Washington, where the teacher starting salary is 15 percent higher and teachers move up the pay scale much faster.

Oregon could leapfrog Washington to have the highest state minimum wage in the country if the Democratically-controlled legislature approves a proposed increase.

Kyle Green / Idaho Statesman

An annual accounting of Idaho government payroll shows the state last year paid $1.47 billion in salaries, taxes, healthcare and insurance costs.

The annual report from the Idaho Controller’s Office shows more than a third of the state’s 25,033 workers are earning less than $40,000 each year. About 10 percent earn more than $70,000.

Idaho Capitol Dome
Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

For a second year, a joint legislative committee has unanimously supported increasing wages for Idaho's 17,000 state workers in fiscal year 2016.

The bipartisan Change in Employee Compensation Committee proposed awarding a 3 percent pay boost on a merit basis. This means, however, not everyone is guaranteed a raise.

The recommendation —estimated to cost nearly $30 million— now needs full legislative approval but is already expected to be supported by the governor.

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