Tim Skubitz stands in front of his McDonalds in Newport, Washington. It's right across the street from Oldtown, Idaho.
The border between Washington and Idaho is like a petri dish for what the minimum wage does to the economy. That’s where two extremes meet. Idaho has the federal minimum wage: $7.25 an hour. Meanwhile, Washington’s is nearly $2 more.
At $9.19, Washington has the highest minimum wage in the nation. You might expect that wage gap to send Washington border businesses fleeing over to Idaho. But that’s not what’s happening.
Idahoans like Ron Mendive pride themselves on having a business-friendly state. The Republican state representative from Coeur d’Alene shares the view of many about the minimum wage. Continue Reading →
Call center jobs have boomed in Idaho. The industry has added thousands of jobs in the state over the last decade. EMSI, a Moscow, Idaho-based company that analyzes employment and economic data, projects that growth will continue in the near-term.
Bob Lokken, CEO of WhiteCloud Analytics, in his downtown Boise office
Bob Lokken, CEO of Boise-based WhiteCloud Analytics, is three years into building his new company. It designs software for health care professionals with the aim of allowing doctors and others to interrogate vast amounts of health care data. Lokken founded it after his previous company, ProClarity Corporation, was bought by Microsoft.
Recently, he showed me around the downtown office where software developers work intently behind large computer screens. I wasn’t there to talk about better health outcomes through guided data analysis; I was there to talk about Idaho’s workforce.
This week, StateImpact Idaho is reporting on low-wage work through its series “Bottom Rung.”Retired University of Idaho economist Stephen Cooke offers a blunt assessment of Idaho’s shifting employment picture. He believes the state is on a path toward a growing number of low-skilled, low-wage jobs. Continue Reading →
Eleven community health centers in Idaho will be eligible to receive an estimated $1.35 million to help uninsured Idahoans enroll in health insurance plans.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced the funds, which are part of the Affordable Care Act, on Thursday. The agency is making about $150 million available to community health centers nationwide, to offer in-person enrollment assistance to uninsured people.
Construction employment was the starting point for the broadcast story that aired this morning. The construction industry suffered especially steep losses in the recession. In Idaho, the number of construction workers remains more than 40 percent below its 2007 peak, even as local home prices regain lost ground and new home building picks up.
A Steelhead Construction worker measures siding for a new home west of Boise.
Not long ago, you could hear the buzz of power saws all over the Treasure Valley. It was punctuated by the steady rhythm of hammers and nail guns. More than 10,000 homes went up in Ada and Canyon counties in the two years before the recession hit. Then, the sound stopped.
“’08 and ’09 were really hard,” says Aaron Wright of Steelhead Construction. He founded the siding and remodeling company as Idaho’s housing boom took hold. At the peak, Wright employed more than 30 people. When the market crashed, he scaled back to three.
For the last two years, Gov. Otter has pushed for lower business taxes, a state-based health insurance exchange, and hiring tax credits.
Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter is using Idaho’s low wages as a selling point. In a letter sent to out-of-state gun manufacturers last month to encourage them to relocate to Idaho, Otter touts the comparatively low cost of labor here.
The latest driver’s license data suggests more 20-somethings are leaving Idaho than ever before. The net loss of Idahoans aged 21-30 last year was 149. The data show 11,530 young people moved to Idaho from other states in 2012, while 11,679 left.
Source: Idaho Department of Labor | Idaho Department of Transportation
The Idaho Department of Labor is keeping an eye on this unsettling trend; young people are leaving the state in search of higher-paying jobs while retirees from out-of-state are moving in faster than ever. Continue Reading →
StateImpact seeks to inform and engage local communities with broadcast and online news focused on how state government decisions affect your lives. Learn More »