Bringing the Economy Home

A Mixed Bag for Idaho’s Energy Economy

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The Idaho Department of Labor is touting the state’s energy economy and reports a four percent growth in jobs between 2007 and 2010.  At the same time, a study released today by the department in collaboration with the Center for Regional Development at Purdue University, shows a 15 percent decline in jobs over that three year period.

“Energy accounted for about 6 percent of jobs and 7 percent of businesses in Idaho, ranking the state 14th and 22nd respectively among the states. From 2007 to 2010, Idaho employment in this sector was hit hard by the recession, falling 15 percent. Idahoans working in the energy industrial cluster made on average $25,000 more per year than the overall average wage earner in the state, based on a comparison of Idaho energy job and establishment attributes with those of the nation and the other 49 states.” – Illuminating Idaho’s Energy Industry, Fall 2011

Idaho Department of Labor Research Analyst Craig Shaul says the difference in the two numbers has to do with the kind of data included.  The data from Purdue University includes 77 specific industries in 11 sectors of the energy economy, some of those aren’t applicable to Idaho’s economy.  Shaul says the Purdue data was used to compare Idaho’s energy economy to other states, while information from the Idaho Department of Labor was narrowed to only include industries that operate in the state.

The Labor Department reports the largest part of Idaho’s energy jobs are in professional, technical and scientific services, which include high-paying jobs in engineering, laboratory testing and scientific research and development. Idahoans working in the energy industry make on average $25,000 more per year than the average wage earner in the state.

State of Idaho

Idaho Governor C.L. "Butch" Otter

Idaho Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter is declaring this week “Careers in Energy Week” in conjunction with the report published today.  Otter says the proclamation recognizes the industry’s need for new workers.

“Energy-related industries need new workers to provide a bridge into the future, replacing retiring workers and maintaining a highly skilled and talented workforce to meet the new challenges of a growing economy.”  – Governor Otter

The Governor’s proclamation also announced the creation of the Idaho Energy Workforce Consortium, which he says “strives to promote a unified and results-oriented effort to ensure Idahoans find rewarding careers in energy so that Idaho can continue to grow in prosperity.”

The Idaho Energy Workforce Consortium is still being developed.


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