CNN Money recently published a list of the 25 best counties in the country to find work. At number 15, nestled between Houston County, Georgia and Cass County, North Dakota is Bonneville County, Idaho. That includes Idaho Falls and part of one of Idaho’s biggest employers, the Idaho National Laboratory. The lab is spread across a handful of southeastern Idaho counties.
CNN used Census data to find counties where jobs and population were increasing, and where the jobless rate was below the national average. According to their list, CNN says Bonneville County saw a 28 percent increase in jobs between 2000 and 2011.
However, in just the last two years, the Idaho National Laboratory has laid off at least 600 people. It seems the main reason Bonneville County made the list hinges on the development of a uranium enrichment plant.
As StateImpact and a slew of other media reported in December, Areva’s plans for a uranium enrichment plant have been put on hold. It’s not clear when Areva’s Idaho Falls facility will be built.
Here’s what CNN writes:
“Job creation could get an atomic-sized boost in Bonneville County soon. French nuclear energy giant AREVA has plans to build a multibillion dollar uranium enrichment plant here. The development has been held up due to financing issues, but it could provide a big construction boon if it goes ahead.
AREVA’s choice of Bonneville County is well-calculated. Home to the Idaho National Laboratory, a major R&D facility for the Department of Energy and a key local employer, the county has a strong relationship with the nuclear energy industry.”
July’s unemployment rate in Bonneville County was 6.2 percent, lower than Idaho’s rate of 7.5.