Bringing the Economy Home

Thousands Of Foreclosed Idahoans To Split $9 Million In Mortgage Settlement Payments

Molly Messick / StateImpact Idaho

This Nampa neighborhood used to be dotted with foreclosures.

The Idaho Attorney General’s office says more than 6,000 Idahoans will receive checks under the historic national mortgage settlement this month.

As we reported last year, the $25 billion settlement was reached in February 2012. The borrowers who received “loan servicing errors” that may have led to foreclosures between 2008 and 2011, were eligible for these settlement payments. Continue Reading

Idaho’s Underemployment Rate Drops, But It’s Still Well Above Pre-Recession Levels

The number of Idahoans who don’t have enough work declined between 2011 and 2012, but the state’s underemployment rate is still well above pre-recession levels.

The Idaho Department of Labor writes in its latest newsletter the 2012 underemployment rate was 16.9 percent. That means nearly 17 percent of Idaho’s workforce had part-time or temporary jobs when they wanted full-time work. That measure also includes people with associate’s degrees or higher, who are registered with an unemployment office and are searching for a different job.

Idaho’s underemployment rate in 2007, the year before the recession, was 10.9 percent. As this chart from the Idaho Department of Labor shows, as the economy worsened, those rates increased.

Idaho Department of Labor

Click the chart to enlarge.

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Idaho Budget Writers To See Policy In Action

Joe Jaszewski / Idaho Statesman

JFAC co-chairs Dean Cameron (R-Rupert) and Maxine Bell (R-Jerome).

The lawmakers who shape Idaho’s annual budget will tour the northern part of the state this week to get a glimpse of their policy decisions in action.

Members of the Joint Finance Appropriations Committee, or JFAC, will spend three days at north Idaho businesses, landmarks, and schools.

Legislative budget and policy analyst Keith Bybee says it’s a chance for lawmakers to see how budget policies and decisions are working, instead of just hearing about it when they’re in a committee room at the Capitol in Boise.

Bybee says it’s important for lawmakers to understand how staffers like him spend the legislative off-season. “We spend a lot of time writing reports and making sure they [legislators] have the best information possible,” says Bybee. Continue Reading

“Idaho Scrimps On State Employee Pay”

As University of Idaho President Duane Nellis leaves this week to become president of Texas Tech, his parting advice to the state was to invest in its workers by funding raises for state employees.

That’s something Idaho Gov. Butch Otter declared a priority early in his first term, noting the gap between state worker pay and market rates. But since the downturn hit, Idaho hasn’t funded state employee raises in four of the last five years.

Read more at:

Is Idaho A Good Place To Be Unemployed? Yes, Says Bloomberg

Molly Messick / StateImpact Idaho

Wells Fargo representative Josh Plummer talked to dozens of would-be call center workers at a recent job fair in Boise.

Idaho is one of the best states to be without a job. That’s according to government data analyzed by Bloomberg.

The online business news site says it considered average unemployment insurance benefits as a percentage of average per capita income, the jobless rate, wealth disparity, and the ratio of households earning at least $200,000 to those earning less than $10,000 annually. Continue Reading

“Idaho Gov. Otter Wants More Personal Accountability In Medicaid”

“If you’re smoking, you gotta quit smoking,” Gov. Otter told the Idaho Statesman. “And if you don’t quit smoking, some part of the benefit, or all of it, goes away.”

Gov. Butch Otter wants to make it harder for people to benefit from Medicaid unless they make healthy choices. It’s one of the options he’s weighing as he ponders whether to add Idaho’s poorest adults to the program.

A plan in the works by the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare carries the same theme – personal responsibility – but takes a different path.

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Boise Could Become A Hub For California Tech Firms

Micron and Hewlett-Packard have already established that Boise can be a comfortable home for big players in the technology industry.

Thomas Brown thinks Boise is an advantageous second location for his small but growing San Francisco tech company, Bescover. Moreover, Brown, who is negotiating the purchase of Boise software developer Affinity Amp, thinks more small Silicon Valley companies could follow suit.

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Uninsured Idaho Veterans Affected By Decision Not To Expand Medicaid

Stateline | Urban Institute

Click on the map to enlarge.

Nearly 4,000 uninsured Idaho veterans would be eligible for health insurance if the state expanded Medicaid coverage. That’s according to new analysis from the Urban Institute, reported by Stateline.

Idaho isn’t expanding Medicaid coverage to more low-income residents, although the governor has said he isn’t ruling it out.

As Stateline reports, in states that expand the program, adults at 138 percent of the federal poverty line (that’s earning $15,415 annually) will be eligible for health care in January through Medicaid. But not in Idaho. Continue Reading

Idaho Continues Its Rural Population Decline

Molly Messick / StateImpact Idaho

The small town of Fairfield, Idaho

New census numbers released this week reinforce something we’ve known for a while: Idaho continues to lose population in rural communities. In 1990, 59 percent of Idahoans lived in cities. Last year, that number was 69 percent.

“A third of the city population gain in 2012 came in Ada County, where the suburban community of Star posted a 3.4 percent increase. Coupled with population growth rates of 3.3 percent in Meridian and 2.9 percent in Eagle, those three cities accounted for nearly 3,400 of a 10,500-population increase posted by Idaho’s cities. Continue Reading

First Round Of Idaho’s Public-Private Innovation Grant Winners Selected

Idaho Technology Council

The Idaho Department of Commerce announced yesterday the first round of Idaho Global Entrepreneurial Mission, or IGEM, grant recipients.

The Department reports 18 groups applied for the grant funding. Seven will receive the awards totaling $844,093. An additional $105,907 will go to the Idaho Commerce Business and Jobs Development fund.

Here’s the list of grant recipients from the Department of Commerce: Continue Reading

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