Idaho

Bringing the Economy Home

Idaho’s Labor Force Grows, Unemployment Rate Ticks Up

For the first time since June 2011, Idaho’s unemployment rate ticked up one-tenth of a percentage point in May.

The Idaho Department of Labor says the workforce grew last month, contributing to an increase in the jobless rate from 6.1 percent in April to 6.2 percent in May.

“May’s labor force expansion ended a four-month decline of 4,000 to October 2011 levels even though Idaho’s economy was beginning to add jobs at a decent rate. Continue Reading

Jobless In Idaho: Landing A Career After Two Years On The Hunt

Justy Thomas graduated from Boise State University in 2011. In May 2013, she landed a permanent job in her degree field.

Emilie Ritter Saunders / StateImpact Idaho

Justy Thomas graduated from Boise State University in 2011. In May 2013, she landed a permanent job in her degree field.

Two years, several temporary jobs, 15 interviews, and countless applications later, Justy Thomas has landed a permanent job. “I feel blessed I have a stable job,” she says. Thomas is now working in the human resources department of a local utility company.

We first introduced you to Justy Thomas in November 2011. She’s been part of our Jobless In Idaho series, a reporting project that tracked out-of-work Idahoans on their paths to finding careers.

As we reported back in 2011, Thomas was a month away from graduating from Boise State University with a degree in human resources and business management. Thomas decided to go to school after she was laid off in 2007 from her job in the mortgage industry.

“I wanted to do a reset. I wanted to change my career,” Continue Reading

Your Next Idaho Phone Number Might Not Start With 208

The PUC estimates Idaho will run out of 208 telephone numbers by 2019.

Emilie Ritter Saunders / StateImpact

The PUC estimates Idaho will run out of 208 telephone numbers by 2019.

In less than a decade, Idaho will likely join the ranks of states with more than one area code. That’s right, Idaho’s 208 area code is quickly becoming an endangered species.

This isn’t a new story. Back in 2007, the Idaho Public Utilities Commission said the state would run out of 208 phone numbers within five years. That’s when number conservation and consolidation kicked in. The amount of phone numbers available expanded when the state changed the way it assigns them.

According to the North American Numbering Plan, Idaho has approximately 820,000 208 telephone numbers available. Today, there are about 3.4 million 208 numbers assigned to Idaho.

Based on the terminology associated with Idaho’s phone number planning, you’d think the state was prepping for a sci-fi invasion; “exhaust planning”, “contaminated numbers”, and the dreaded “jeopardy”. Continue Reading

New Income Data Show Idaho Is A More Expensive Place To Live Than 19 States

Data released today from the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis show personal income in Idaho hasn’t fully rebounded from the recession, though growth has been measured in the last two years.

The personal income data from 2007 through 2011 offers a closer look at real-time incomes in relation to the state-specific cost of goods and services during that same time period.

Data Source: U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis Continue Reading

Report Encourages Idaho Lawmakers To Consider All Factors When Making Tax Policy Changes

Tax Credits / Flickr Creative Commons

Idaho lawmakers have a new tool available to guide them in making tax policy decisions.

The Legislature’s Office of Performance Evaluations presented a 38-page report to the Joint Legislative Oversight Committee this morning. The study, a Guide to Comparing Business Tax Policies, was requested by the 2012 Legislature.

The report focuses on a couple of main ideas; tax rates are not the only thing (or most important thing) businesses consider when looking to expand or relocate in Idaho, and tax rate changes aren’t directly related to business investment.

“Although businesses generally seek to maximize their after-tax rate of return, the link between tax costs and a favorable business environment is not direct. Continue Reading

Idaho Gov. Butch Otter Works Toward Third-Straight Year Of Tax Cuts

Joe Jaszewski / Idaho Statesman

Gov. Otter talks with lawmakers at his annual State of the State address, Jan. 10, 2013.

Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter is spending part of his week in Coeur d’Alene at Idaho’s largest business lobby’s annual convention. Gov. Otter’s spokesman says one of the administration’s main goals for the next legislative session is to pass a third-consecutive year of tax cuts.

In 2012, the Legislature lowered corporate and individual income tax rates for the wealthiest Idahoans. In 2013, the Legislature overhauled the state’s business personal property tax, exempting the tax for 90 percent of Idaho businesses. As for 2014, Gov. Otter’s spokesman Mark Warbis says a tax cut could go several ways. Continue Reading

Idaho’s Business Lobby To Set 2014 Legislative Agenda, Including More Tax Cuts

Emilie Ritter Saunders / StateImpact

In some cases, office supplies like this stapler are taxed under Idaho's personal property tax.

Idaho’s largest business lobby is hosting its annual policy meeting in Coeur d’Alene this week. According to the Coeur d’Alene Press, Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter is attending the Idaho Association of Commerce and Industry retreat, along with about 60 legislators and 130 IACI members.

Sure to be on IACI’s 2014 legislative agenda is a complete repeal of Idaho’s business equipment tax. It was partially repealed this year, exempting the tax for about 90 percent of small businesses while keeping the bulk of the revenue stream in-tact. Continue Reading

Initiative Campaign Launches To Raise Idaho’s Minimum Wage

Molly Messick / StateImpact Idaho

A voter initiative campaign has launched in North Idaho to raise the state’s minimum wage from $7.25 an hour to $9.80.

The Spokesman-Review reports the wage would phase up over the next four years if the ballot initiative is successful.

Idaho has the largest percentage of minimum wage workers in the country. Plus, there are more minimum wage workers here, in raw numbers, than in 18 other states.

The group, Raise Idaho, needs to collect 84,000 signatures to qualify for the Nov. 4, 2014 ballot.

May Tax Collections Down, Idaho On Track To Beat Fiscal Year Forecast

Division of Financial Management / State of Idaho

Click image to enlarge.

After a month of larger-than-expected state tax collections, the revenue report for May shows collections came in just shy of the forecast.

The Division of Financial Management released its monthly general fund status update Friday afternoon. It shows state tax collections were down 2.4 percent below expectations. Continue Reading

Idaho’s GDP Ticks Up Slightly, Though Still Behind Most States

U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis

Click on the map to enlarge.

Idaho’s real gross domestic product inched up less than a percentage point from 2011 to 2012.

New data released today by the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis show Idaho’s GDP grew four-tenths of a percent last year. Five states measured slower growth; Wyoming, New Mexico, South Dakota, Delaware, and Connecticut.

Connecticut was the only U.S. state that saw a decline in GDP last year. The state with the largest growth from 2011 to 2012 was North Dakota, with a whopping 13.4 percent increase. Continue Reading

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