Bringing the Economy Home


Construction: The Heart of Idaho's Recession


Paul Bradbury / Getty Images

Construction workers surveying a job site

This page is no longer being updated. For ongoing coverage of this topic, go to Boise State Public Radio’s website.

Idaho’s construction industry lost 10,000 jobs from 2008 to 2009 according to the state Department of Labor.  Labor spokesman Bob Fick said job losses in construction and manufacturing was the heart of Idaho’s recession.

“Once you suck those jobs out — and they’re really good paying jobs, said Fick, then you see the ripple effects in retail and services and almost all other sectors because people don’t have any money to spend.”

State and private economists agree recovery in the construction industry will be slow.  The Division of Financial Management predicts the industry will lose another 1,300 jobs by the end of 2011.  It’s likely the state won’t be able to measure growth here until 2014.

Derek Santos is the Chief Economist at the Division of Financial Management.  “Despite its anticipated growth, construction employment comes nowhere close to regaining its previous peak,” Santos wrote in the July 2011 forecast.  “Instead, there are about as many jobs (forecast) in 2014 as there were in 2009.”

Latest Posts

Bottom Rung: Construction Jobs Gained And Lost, And Their Place In Idaho’s Economy

This week, StateImpact‘s “Bottom Rung” series is looking at low-wage work in Idaho. We’re asking why the state has an outsized share of minimum wage jobs. 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 […]

Bottom Rung: The Workforce Shift That’s Costing Idaho Good-Paying Jobs

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 […]

Low Inventory Continues To Drive Up Treasure Valley Home Prices

Spring marks the start of the busy season for home-buying and selling. In the Treasure Valley, the housing market mirrors national trends. The story is one of few homes for sale, and high demand. Mike Turner, an agent with Front Street Brokers in Boise, will tell you: the local housing market was competitive last spring, and […]

Idaho’s Foreclosure Rate Continues To Fall

2012 was a good year, comparatively, for Idaho’s housing market. RealtyTrac’s year-end foreclosure report was released this morning, and it shows Idaho’s foreclosure rate and rank among states continue to drop. The Gem State now ranks 14th, bumping Idaho out of the top 10 in the annual ranking for the first time in years. 

Idaho’s Construction Industry Slogs Through Slow Growth

Earlier this week Stateline wrote about signs of the construction industry turnaround. Their opening scene: downtown Boise. “The corner of 8th and Main streets in downtown Boise, Idaho, was jokingly called “the hole” because it had been vacant since a 1987 fire there. No more. Construction began last summer on a new $60-million building that’s […]

Education And Health Care Jobs On The Rise In Idaho

How do Idahoans spend their workaday lives? Data released by the U.S. Census Bureau last week offer one answer. This is what working Idahoans did at work — broadly speaking, anyway — in 2011. Source: U.S. Census Bureau The construction sector has shifted in the opposite direction over the same time period, shrinking from 10.1 […]

$4 Million In Federal Transportation Money Is Coming To Idaho

U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood will be in Idaho Wednesday, days after the Obama administration announced plans to send unspent transportation dollars to states. As The Associated Press reported Friday, $470 million will be made available to states for infrastructure projects as long as states “promise to use the money to create jobs and improve […]

Census Launches First Mobile App

If you’re hungry for raw economic statistics, the U.S. Census Bureau has launched its first mobile app. The app is available for Android users now. Apple users will have to wait a few weeks. The Census app promises info on 16 key economic indicators including; wholesale and retail trade, unemployment, construction and personal income. The […]

Idaho’s Quarterly Economic Forecast Places Growth On Old Industries

Idaho’s chief economist predicts the state will remain in growth mode over the next few years, but the rate of that growth has been ratcheted down. The Division of Financial Management’s quarterly economic forecast, authored by chief economist Derek Santos, lays out employment and sector growth through 2015. The latest report estimates Idaho will continue […]

Why One Idaho Company Is Growing Its Own Workforce

Even with thousands of Idahoans out of work, one Boise-based company can’t find enough employees.  Western States Equipment needs mechanic techs, jobs that by definition fall into the middle-skills category. About half of all Idaho jobs fall into this group: jobs like mechanics, welders, police officers, or air traffic controllers.  These are jobs where you […]

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 »