Idaho

Bringing the Economy Home

Topics

Kelly Barker, in the backyard of her Meridian home.

Series: Jobless in Idaho

Background

Raymond Forbes / Getty Images

This post is no longer being updated. For the most up-to-date statistics check here.

The Idaho Department of Labor estimates there are nearly 65,000 people in the state who don’t have jobs.  Tens of thousands more are either underemployed or have stopped looking for work.

Idaho is one of a handful of states where the unemployment rate has gone up since the recession officially ended in mid-2009.  Idaho’s unemployment rate climbed to its peak in early 2011, nearly two years after the recession was declared over.

StateImpact Idaho is exploring who the unemployed are, what their struggles have been, and what they hope for.  We’ll track their job searches over the next several months and share their experiences with you.

Laid Off Mill Worker Uncertain of his Future: Allen Brown received his final severance pay check from the former Clearwater Paper mill in Lewiston on December 25th, 2011.  Brown is 44 years old, and a single father to three teenage girls.  “I’ve got my education and hoped I could ride that out until I retired,” says Brown.

Soldiers Struggle to Translate War Experience into Work: David Hampton is readjusting to civilian life after returning from deployment in Iraq earlier this year.  At 21, Hampton is now looking for his first full-time job outside a combat zone. “I’m a team player.  That’s all there is to it.  I’m just hoping they’ll give me the chance.”

A Single Mom Budgets to Keep Her Family Afloat: Kelly Barker lost her job in April 2011.  She and her young daughter are getting by on unemployment insurance benefits and food stamps.  “I’ve been blessed with so many things, but I really just want a job,” Barker says.

A Former HP Employee Struggles Through Years of Unemployment: Nathan Bussey lost his job in 2008.  So, he decided to go back to school and get an MBA.  He graduated in 2010 only to resume receiving unemployment benefits.  “You start going back and questioning months in the past, trying to figure out, ‘What could I have done better?’” Bussey says.

College Grad Starts from Scratch: Justy Thomas lost her job in the mortgage industry in 2007.  She decided to go to college and she received her undergraduate degree in December 2011.  “I wonder if I had gone back to work these last four years, and just pulled up my bootstraps and started at that ground floor again, and worked my way up, would I be satisfied, would I be more satisfied?  I certainly would be in less debt, certainly,” says Thomas.

Latest Posts

“60 Minutes” Highlights Unique Program To Put People Back To Work

60_minutes_unemployed_620_120217_620x350

CBS News 60 Minutes’ story Trapped in Unemployment follows a group of jobless 40-and 50-somethings.  They’re participants in a program aimed at getting people back to work through internships. The story takes place in Connecticut, some 2,000 miles away from Idaho.  But the stories in the 60 Minutes piece don’t stray far from the narratives [...]

Jobless in Idaho: Back To Work And Scraping By

Single mom Kelly Barker has found short-term work, and hopes the job will last.

The unemployment rate has ticked down in recent months, nationally and here in Idaho.  Two of the people StateImpact Idaho has followed through its “Jobless in Idaho” series are among those who have made progress in finding work.  But they haven’t simply landed jobs and resumed the lives they had before unemployment. When we first [...]

Jobless in Idaho: Leaving Home for the Oilfields

Allen Brown stopped in Boise on his way from Lewiston to Pocatello for a job interview.

The Idaho Department of Labor estimates there are at least 65,000 people in the state without work.  That doesn’t include thousands more who are underemployed or have stopped looking for a job.  This is the latest story in our “Jobless in Idaho” series, that follows several Idahoans in their search for work. We introduced you to [...]

Idaho Miners are in High Demand, Despite Lucky Friday Closure

Lucky Friday Mine workers in Mullan, Idaho are valued for their skill at "jackleg" mining, using hand-held equipment seen here.

They say the days when you could go from high school to a high-paying, blue collar job are long gone. But there are places in the Northwest where those days still exist — that is, if you’re willing to work a mile underground. For gold and silver miners, it looks like boom times right now. [...]

State of the Union to Focus on Economy

Obama Welcomes NHL Champion Boston Bruins To The White House

President Barack Obama will deliver his final State of the Union speech of his first term tonight before Congress and a nationally televised audience.  It’s been widely reported the President’s speech will focus on the economy. White House Senior Adviser David Plouffe stopped by NPR Morning Edition for a preview of the president’s speech. “The [...]

Northwest States Coping with Government Employee Layoffs

Sandy Brown helps a client with paperwork for food stamps benefits in the Boise office.

This story is a collaboration between StateImpact Idaho and Northwest News Network.  Contributing reporters are Emilie Ritter Saunders, Chris Lehman and Austin Jenkins. Across the Northwest, government agencies and schools have laid off thousands of workers. Just like corporate downsizing, those public sector job losses have a human and an economic impact. Northwest States Coping [...]

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

Click on the map for an interactive view of 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 [...]

Idaho’s Jobless Rate Drops Slightly in December

Job seekers speaking with potential employers at the Veteran's Job Fair in Boise in November.

Idaho’s unemployment rate is now at its lowest level in nearly three years.  The Department of Labor reports the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate ticked down one-tenth of a percent to 8.4 for the month of December. Idaho’s jobless rate hit a record high of 9.7 percent in December 2010.  Those gains mark the largest year-over-year [...]

Nearly 1,000 Idaho State Employees Laid-Off Since 2007

Gov. Otter delivered his State of the State speech at the Capitol on Jan. 9, 2012

Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter said Idaho will not and has not faced “staggering” state employee layoffs like many other states have during his annual State of the State address delivered Monday.  But what does “staggering” mean?  Idaho has laid-off 928 people over the last five years.  The state’s total workforce has averaged about 24,700 employees [...]

Jobless in Idaho: A Mix of Emotions for One College Grad

PostCeremony2

In our first Jobless in Idaho story, we introduced you to Justy Thomas.  She’s 38 years old and graduated from Boise State University last Friday with a degree in Human Resources and Business Management.  She’s unemployed.  That’s why she enrolled in college four years ago.  Now, she looks forward with mixed emotions.  We caught up [...]

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 »

Economy
Education