Bringing the Economy Home

Governor Otter: Every Generation Deals with Joblessness and We Live Through It

Emilie Ritter Saunders / StateImpact Idaho

Governor Otter meeting with Boise State Public Radio & StateImpact Idaho on Dec. 13, 2011

As we previously reported, Idaho is one of a handful of states where the number of people without jobs has increased since the official end of the recession.  The state’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate has ticked down in recent months, but there are still at least 65,000 people out of work.  Tens of thousands more don’t have enough work.

We recently spoke with Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter about the state of Idaho’s economy, including unemployment.  This interview was done before the most recent unemployment data was released.  So the numbers he mentions at the top are from October.  Here are November’s.

Governor Otter believes many Idahoans who’ve been out of the workforce for one or two years lack the necessary skills to jump back into a job. Click play to watch the segment…

Governor Otter says the state is making strides in attracting new, job-creating businesses to the state.  In particular, he touts the recent Chobani deal in Twin Falls, the new AllState call center in Chubbuck and the C3 expansion in Twin Falls.

Still, for each positive announcement, it seems there are negative ones.  Simplot announced it will shed a net 550 jobs over the next couple of years.  And the recent sale of Lewiston’s Clearwater Paper sawmill has displaced about 250 workers, although some have gotten their jobs back under the new owners.

Governor Otter says periods of unemployment are something every generation has faced.  “We live through it,” Otter says.  “Raising a family with nine kids, my dad was an electrician.  It wasn’t unusual for him to come home from six or eight months on a particular job, and when that job ended and until we find another job, we’re just going to have to cut back.  We’re going to have to do as well as we can with what we’ve got.”


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