Molly Messick was StateImpact Idaho's broadcast reporter until May 2013. Prior to joining StateImpact and Boise State Public Radio, she was a reporter and host for Wyoming Public Radio. She is a graduate of Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.
Today is my last at StateImpact Idaho. After better than four years spent reporting in the West, next month I’ll make good on a longtime goal. I’ll take a couple of months away from reporting for intensive Spanish study in Central America, something that will benefit my work in the future.
There are many things I’ve valued about this job. I’m grateful to have met fascinating people with stories to tell in towns and communities all over this state, from Laclede to Council to American Falls. (I’ve reported four feature stories from that one little town of 4,500 since StateImpact Idaho launched in September 2011!) Continue Reading →
Many readers and listeners have weighed in, in some cases sending their own stories. For example, Monday’s feature focused in part on a McDonald’s franchise that’s just across the Idaho border, in Washington, where the minimum wage is considerably higher than Idaho’s, at $9.19 per hour. 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 →
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.
In Meridian, a worker trains to become a mechanical technician.
Why does Idaho come in ninth in one index evaluating state business taxes and climates, but 31st in another?
According to a report published today by Good Jobs First, a nonprofit that focuses on accountability in economic development and business subsidies, there’s a simple answer: the enterprise of ranking states’ business climates is fundamentally flawed.
“There is no such thing as a ‘state business climate,'” says Good Jobs First Director Greg LeRoy. Businesses, he says, generally make location decisions based on the qualities of a particular metro area, not of an entire state. Continue Reading →
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 August, a pivot irrigation system on Jim Tiede's farm gave his potato crop a steady spray of water.
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 →
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