Single-family home prices rose by 9.3 percent in February compared to a year earlier, their fastest rate of growth in nearly seven years. That’s according to the S&P/Case-Shiller index, which is based on 20 metropolitan areas, not including Boise.
Data from the Intermountain Multiple Listing Service show single-family home prices in Ada and Canyon counties have appreciated at an even faster rate. The average home price in Ada County stood at $210,672 in February, a 14.6 percent increase from the year before. In Canyon County, the average home price was $121,867, a nearly 12.5 percent increase from February of 2012. Continue Reading
Last year, many of Idaho’s irrigated farmers fared well despite dry conditions because snow and rainfall the year before left reservoirs full. This year the picture is different. There’s less carryover — the term water managers use to describe the water that remains in reservoirs from the previous year — and dry conditions persist.
Farmer Jim Tiede, who grows sugar beets, potatoes, corn and wheat on 3,000 acres near American Falls, says he’s planning for a lower than usual water allocation from the Aberdeen-Springfield Canal. Continue Reading
The Obama administration has taken a few hits this month over the federal health care law. The administration’s decision to put off creating an insurance marketplace aimed at small businesses brought dismay. Then, Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT) predicted a “train wreck coming” as key aspects of Obamacare are implemented. His concern? People simply don’t understand what the law does. A recent Kaiser Family Foundation survey backs that up.
Idaho’s jobless rate remained flat last month, at 6.2 percent. The Idaho Department of Labor’s monthly report says the rate is holding steady despite anemic hiring because of an ongoing decline in the size of the state’s workforce.
Total employment fell by about 600 people in March, even as employers hired about 13,000 workers, according to the report.
Since December of last year, more than 2,600 people have dropped out of Idaho’s workforce. That reverses gains made in 2012 as the economy showed signs of recovery. It means the state’s labor force is about the same size as it was in 2011. Continue Reading
There’s a discussion we have from time to time in the Boise State Public Radio newsroom, about geography and how we cover the news. In many respects — politically, for example — Idaho has more in common with the Rocky Mountain States that lie to its east and south than it does with its neighbors to the west. On the other hand, a lot of transplants to the state come from Washington and California.
I thought of that discussion yesterday when I read Robert Krulwich’s latest blog entry, A ‘Whom Do You Hang With?” Map of America. At the top of the piece, Krulwich walks through the findings of a study on population mobility, which relies on data tracking the movement of dollar bills. The study results in a map covered in blue lines of varying strength that don’t correspond to state lines. The areas delineated by strong blue lines are areas in which dollars bills tend to circulate and stay.
The map shows this of Idaho: Continue Reading
As StateImpact has reported, Idaho Power on Monday submitted a proposal to raise customer rates by as much as 15.34 percent, on average, for the next year.
The price hike is largely the result of low rainfall and snowpack, which have lowered Idaho Power’s production of hydroelectricity — a comparatively cheap resource.
The Idaho Conservation League’s Ben Otto points out that Idaho Power customers will likely see more such price increases in years to come.
“The Snake River, really, is the driver of our system,” he explains. “The 20- to 30-year models of stream flows show declining flows into the future, because we have a lot of competing uses of water.” Continue Reading