Economy

Ūsful Glassworks / Facebook

Thursday, May 4 is Idaho Gives Day, when a number of charitable organizations team up to encourage donations to the nonprofit sector. Ūsful Glassworks is one of those. But for them, the May 4 deadline is a bit more dire.

Ūsful Glassworks takes abandoned glass bottles and turns them into usable items like windchimes, cups and soap dispensers. Their workforce is made up of at-risk youth, refugees, the homeless, low-income seniors and others who need a helping hand back into employment.

Richard Lam / CP, AP Images

The Trump Administration recently announced a 20 percent tariff on Canadian softwood lumber exports.

The trade dispute over softwood lumber is nothing new. Softwood lumber is what home builders use, and the Canadian market is a big one in the United States. According to University of Idaho forest economics professor Greg Latta, American companies have long felt that Canadians have an advantage because Canadians log on nationally-owned forests – amounting to a government subsidy.

MjZ Photography / Flickr

Idaho transportation officials have agreed to spend $150 million in newly approved bonds to repair and add lanes on Interstate 84 near Nampa.

The state transportation board unanimously voted Friday to reconstruct existing lanes, as well as add additional lanes and upgrade bridges.

Idaho Transportation Department Director Brian Ness says the currently congested corridor is a top concern and affects all of Idaho.

Roadsidepictures / Flickr

Malls across the country have been closing in recent years as consumers prefer the ease of online shopping or go to big box stores that offer practically everything. Nationally, malls may be in jeopardy, but in Idaho, they’re still flourishing.

In the 80s, there was nowhere cooler than the mall. But changing times and a shifting retail landscape have altered that – almost everywhere.

Justin Lynham / Flickr

Idaho’s unemployment rate is now down to 3.5 percent.

The figure has inched south from 3.6 percent in February.

According to the Idaho Department of Labor, this is the 78th straight month with labor force gains. The total labor force participation rate in Idaho – that’s the percentage of people over 16 holding down a job or looking for work – dropped a tenth of a percent to a solid 64 percent.

Of 23,600 jobs posted online last month, 4,200 were classified as “hard to fill.” 14 percent of those hard-to-fill jobs are in the healthcare field.

Chapendra / Flickr

Housing prices across the Treasure Valley keep rising as the supply of homes remains stagnant.

The median price of home in Canyon County is up over 10 percent from the same time last year. Homes in the county are now up to $164,700. Last July, the average price was $160,000.

Screenshot / Zillow.com

A report making the rounds of the internet and getting cited in papers around Idaho posits the town of Victor in the far east of the state had the most expensive ZIP code in Idaho. That claim is being debunked.

The report came from website GoBankingRates.com which calculated the median home prices in Victor at just shy of $350,000. With that figure, the website awarded Victor the title of priciest ZIP in the state.

Consumer Technology Association

The Consumer Technology Association has put out an Innovation Scorecard for the last three years. The rankings are based on a mix of qualitative and quantitative factors.

Director of Policy Communications Izzy Santa says the point is to encourage some friendly competition among states, and give policy makers some ideas to improve their standing.

Bernd Thaller / Flickr

Any other year, August 21 would be just another day, but this year a once-in-a-lifetime event falls on the date. A total solar eclipse will cross the continental U.S., and Idaho is one of the best places to view it. Four months out, lodgings for visitors are scarce.

With the path of totality cutting directly through the Gem State, eclipse enthusiasts from around the world will descend on Idaho.

Boise Hawks

A new stadium proposed for the outskirts of downtown Boise is gaining momentum; developers say the project could generate $200 million-worth of growth in the area.

The tentative deal between developer Greenstone Properties and St. Luke’s Health System would transform 11 acres around Americana Boulevard and Shoreline Drive into a venue that would house Boise’s minor league baseball team, the Hawks, and service other local sports.

Four acres would be set aside for the stadium, while the remaining 7 acres would be used for residential, office and parking space.

Anna King / Northwest News Network

Idaho’s agricultural exports decreased by almost eight percent in 2016. The downturn comes as the U.S. dollar remains strong compared to other major currencies.

Since its record high in 2014, Idaho agricultural exports have been declining. The Capital Press newspaper reports the high value of the dollar is part of the problem. Digging into the numbers, Mexico imported the most Idaho products – about $176 million worth. Canada and China came next.

Matt Guilhem / Boise State Public Radio

Idaho lawmakers are gearing up to spend the final few weeks of the legislative session focused on transportation funding possibilities, including a key tool the Legislature hasn't leveraged since 2005.

Last week, Sen. Bert Brackett, a Republican from Rogerson, introduced legislation to allow the state to borrow $300 million in bonds for road projects and repay it with future federal highway payments.

Joe Jaszewski / The Idaho Statesman

Idaho residents are helping to boost the economy of a small Oregon town by purchasing marijuana from the town's two dispensaries, which lie along the border between the two states.

Huntington, Oregon, has 435 residents, but the city's pot shops can serve up to 600 customers on a busy day, with most coming from out of town, The Idaho Statesman reported.

Julio Cortez / AP

Gas prices have been flat for a month, except in Idaho. The Gem State’s prices are up.

AAA Idaho says the state’s average price went up seven cents in February to $2.44 a gallon. The national average is $2.30 a gallon.

The price hike began when Plains All American Pipeline had to shut down its Wasatch gas pipeline. That cut off the supply of crude oil from Wyoming to Salt Lake City where it gets refined into gasoline. Without a pipeline, the oil is being sent by truck, which takes time and costs more.

Tom Michael / Boise State Public Radio

Many agree the immigration system is broken, and there’s a national debate on how best to fix it. This debate is sometimes based on emotions, not on data. But a new study released Tuesday is taking a closer look at the numbers.

Asmaa Albukaie was Boise’s first refugee from Syria, arriving in late 2014.

"For me as a refugee, I came searching for safety and peace," Albukaie says.

She found that. She also found work.

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