Economy

Adelpha Photography/Flickr

Idaho’s Hispanic population is growing. That’s according to the Idaho Department of Labor.

Using Census Bureau numbers, the department found that the Hispanic population grew 2.9 percent between mid-2014 and mid-2015. That’s an increase of 5,696.

Janell Hyer is a research analyst at the Labor Department. She says Idaho’s Hispanic population went up 15.1 percent since the 2010 census.

“We added over 26,000 Hispanics to our community and living in this area you’re seeing more and more commercial businesses that are targeting Hispanics.”

For Sale Coldwell Banker House Sold
Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

Home ownership in Idaho’s two most populous counties is getting less affordable. That’s according to a report released Thursday by real estate data company RealtyTrac.

How affordable your home is has to do with the percentage of your income you have to spend on it. RealtyTrac says home prices are going up faster than income in Ada and Canyon Counties. So homes are getting less affordable.

As the price of mustard rises, growers in Idaho have expanded the average devoted to the crop by 250 percent.

The Capital Press reports that at 33.1 cents per pound delivered, mustard prices are up about 2.5 per pound from last year, making it one of the few crops to have increased in value in 2016. Idaho growers have seized on the opportunity to turn a profit.

Mike Mozart, Flickr Creative Commons

For the past six months in a row Idaho has led the nation in job growth. That’s according to the Idaho Department of Labor, which cites data from Bureau of Labor Statistics.  The department predicts that job growth for all of 2016 will be between 3 and 3.5 percent.

Jeremiah Clark

Farmers in Peru and Bolivia have been growing and eating quinoa for a long, long time. But over the last decade, the grain’s high nutritional value has made it a popular food in countries like the U.S. and Canada. South America quinoa production has more than doubled since 2010 as producers have tried to meet international demand.

neetalparekh / Flickr Creative Commons

According to business and finance publisher Kiplinger, Idaho will be the state with the biggest job growth this year. Kiplinger predicts 23,580 new jobs in Idaho in 2016. That’s a growth rate of 3.5 percent, which beats Arizona, the next state on the list, by a third of a percentage point.

Molly Messick / Boise State Public Radio

You can now fly non-stop from Boise to Dallas. American Airlines opened that service last Thursday. With that, the Boise Airport comes within one flight of its pre-recession high.

Airport director Rebecca Hupp says before the recession hit in 2008 there were 21 non-stop flights in and out of Boise serving nearly three million passengers a year. Hupp says when she came on board in 2012 there were only 15 non-stop flights and passenger numbers were down a couple hundred thousand.

Lacey Daley / Boise State Public Radio

You have to make nearly twice the state’s minimum wage of $7.25 an hour to afford a two-bedroom apartment in Idaho. It’s more than double the minimum wage if you want to rent in Ada or Canyon counties and closer to triple for Blaine County. That’s from a study out last week from the National Low Income Housing Coalition.

Anna King / Northwest News Network

The new crop of bing cherries has been beset with growing problems this year that are reducing the size of the crop.

The Northwest's most popular cherry variety could be in short supply in 2016, after the five-state Cherry Commission on Wednesday lowered its outlook for the season to 18.3 million 20-pound boxes.

The Tri-City Herald reported that some farmers are warning that if conditions worsen, some bing orchards could go unpicked.

Bradley Gordon / Flickr Creative Commons

You’ve probably heard of the wage gap. Women tend to get paid less than men for the same work. Now, a new report from the real estate information company RealtyTrac says that gap means women have less of a chance of developing wealth through home ownership.

Flickr Creative Commons

State officials say Idaho's unemployment rate in April dropped a tenth of a percent to 3.7 percent.

The Idaho Department of Labor in a news release Friday says job gains in construction, professional and business services, and education and health services helped drop the unemployment rate from the previous month.

The state agency says that based on U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Idaho for the sixth consecutive month led the nation in percentage increase of jobs.

Total employment for Idaho grew by more than 1,900 to 777,780.

Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

Agricultural exports, a major segment of Idaho’s economy, took a 22 percent drop last year. That’s a decline of more than $200 million. Domestic ag sales were down in 2015 as well, as were the state’s non-ag exports, but neither saw as steep a drop as agricultural exports.

Roughly a quarter of Idaho ag products go overseas. And the going over the sea part was some of the problem according to Laura Johnson, market development manager at Idaho’s Department of Agriculture. Issues at west coast ports hurt sales to Asia.

Idaho Housing and Finance Association Facebook page

The City of Boise Thursday celebrated the opening of a new apartment complex for low-income seniors. It’s called the Vineyard at Eagle Promenade, though it’s actually in Boise just across the road from Eagle. The City of Boise helped pay for the 30-unit project along with several partners, including the Idaho Housing and Finance association and New Beginnings Housing which has other low-income housing in Nampa, Caldwell and Hailey.

Idaho Gives / Facebook

Idahoans donated roughly $1 million to more than 800 nonprofits and charities Thursday as part of "Idaho Gives," the 24-hour, online fundraising blitz.

Organizers say nearly 7,500 people made donations to help the causes of nonprofits taking part in the fourth annual statewide fundraiser.

Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest gathered in around $32,000 in donations, claiming the top spot among large nonprofits. Meanwhile, The Idaho Humane Society attracted the highest amount of donors, with 358 people giving more than $19,400.

Ron Henry / Flickr Creative Commons

Workers at an Idaho lumber mill have been notified by letter that the mill has been purchased and will be shut down and dismantled.

The Lewiston Tribune reports that the letter from owner Michael F. Burns confirmed rumors that began circulating Friday.

Burns wrote that the past year has been difficult in the lumber business and especially hard for Blue North. He said he was selling the business because he couldn't sustain any more losses.

Chobani, Greek Yogurt
Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

Chobani says it is giving its employees an ownership stake in the privately held company.

The Greek yogurt maker says the shares being distributed would amount to 10 percent of the company's future value in the event of a sale or initial public offering. It says each of its approximately 2,000 full-time employees will receive shares based on their role and time spent with the company.

 

Chobani says CEO and founder Hamdi Ulukaya is meeting with employees this week to talk about the plan in person.

Discover McCall Facebook page

Update on April 27, 2016:  Valley County officials learned Wednesday that they will advance to the top eight in the America’s Best Communities competition. They’ll bring home $100,000 to begin implementing an economic development plan. In 11 months the contest sponsors Frontier Communications, DISH Network and the Weather Channel will assess how well the eight communities are implementing their plans. They’ll then choose three winners who will receive $1 million, $2 million and $3 million.

Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

We introduced you to Kutukira Mberwa about a year ago when the Boise International Market was celebrating its grand opening.

Joel Franusic / Flickr

The price at the pump is the lowest it has been in Idaho on this date since 2009. That's despite the cost of gas going up for more than a month.

Gas prices have risen for 36 of the past 41 days, says AAA Idaho. Despite that, Idaho's average price for a gallon of gas is just $2.07. It hasn't been that low on April 5 since 2009, when it hit $1.97 a gallon. In 2012, we were paying $3.78 for gas in early April.

Les Bois Park Instant Horse Racing (3)
Samantha Wright / Boise State Public Radio

Idaho's largest horse racing operation is closing after 40 years in business.

Les Bois Park closed its doors permanently on Sunday. Treasure Valley Racing officials say the park can't afford to stay open without horse racing terminals.

Known as instant horse racing, the machines allow bettors to place wages on prior horse races with no identifiable information. The machines have spinning wheels, sounds and animations that mimic slot machines, which are illegal in Idaho. The state ruled the terminals illegal last year.

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