Bringing the Economy Home


Do Direct Sales Models Work Better In The West?

Direct Selling Association

Percent of sales by region in 2010.

When I started researching the direct sales industry and one of Idaho’s newest direct sales companies, Scentsy, I wanted to find out if that model of selling at parties and events does particularly well in Idaho.

The Direct Selling Association has this handy map that shows the percent of sales by region.  Idaho is part of the western region, which accounted for more than a quarter of direct sales in 2010.  That puts the western region in second place, behind the South, for percent of total sales.

So are people in the West and South just more likely to go to home parties?  Are we particularly drawn to certain products?  Yes and no.  Continue Reading

Idaho Ranks 21st in the Annual State Business Tax Climate Index

According to the Tax Foundation’s annual report on state business tax climate, Idaho ranks in the middle of the pack.  The Foundation looks at corporate, individual income, sales, property and unemployment insurance tax rates to compare states.  You can read more about the methodology here.

Click to enlarge / The Tax Foundation

Idaho ranks 21st among states with a business friendly tax climate.

Continue Reading

A County-by-County Look at Idaho’s Jobless Rate

Matt Stiles / NPR StateImpact

Click on the map to see interactive county-by-county data

As we reported Friday, Idaho’s jobless rate ticked down one-tenth of a percent to 8.4 for the month of December.  Because of last week’s snowstorm, the Idaho Department of Labor didn’t have county-by-county data immediately available, but now it’s here.

The department reports the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate dropped in 27 of Idaho’s 44 counties from November to December.  Adams County continued to have the highest rate at 17 percent and Franklin County had the lowest at 5 percent.

Early next month StateImpact Idaho will be unveiling a new app that will allow readers to better understand the state’s jobless picture.  It will include things like a visual map showing county jobless data over time, it will highlight our series Jobless in Idaho and it will let you share your stories about unemployment with us using Google Voice.

What would you like to see in this kind of an app?  How will you use it?

Idaho Foreclosures Fall, but Improvement May Not Be Lasting


Click the map above to view RealtyTrac's county-by-county December foreclosure data.

Real estate data provider RealtyTrac has released its year-end report, and the news is mixed.  The numbers show Idaho’s foreclosure rate dropped to tenth in the nation, an improvement from last year’s eighth place ranking.  The total number of housing units with at least one foreclosure filing over the course of 2011 was 11,482, a nearly 40 percent reduction from last year.  Nationally, the number of foreclosure filings decreased by 34 percent from 2010 to 2011.

RealtyTrac’s analysts caution that what looks like improvement may not be.  They say the ongoing legal issues stemming from the robo-signing scandal have slowed down the foreclosure process, and they predict greater foreclosure activity this year than last.

Nationwide, December’s foreclosure activity was the lowest in four years.  One out of every 796 housing units in Idaho received a foreclosure filing last month, according to RealtyTrac’s count.

Idaho’s Jobless Rate Posts Largest One-Month Decline in 28 Years

Matt Stiles / NPR StateImpact

Click on the map to see interactive county-by-county data

The Idaho Department of Labor says the state’s job force is growing.  Idaho’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate dropped three-tenths of a percent in November to 8.5 percent.  That’s the largest one-month decline since 1983.

Department of Labor spokesman Bob Fick says today’s news is another indicator that Idaho’s economy is beginning to pick itself off the bottom.  “The appearance now, based on the activity of the last several months, is that the drop-off in jobs will be less than it had been during the recession.”

Fick says there is no doubt there are more jobs in the labor market today, due to holiday hiring, than there will be in January.  But he says the test will come next month when it’s up to employers whether to hang on to those seasonal employees.  “The question is whether the drop in non-farm jobs will be what it was in the last three years, or closer to what it was during the expansion years of 2002 to 2007.”

Continue Reading

About StateImpact

StateImpact seeks to inform and engage local communities with broadcast and online news focused on how state government decisions affect your lives.
Learn More »