Economy

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.

Idaho Racing Commission

Officials with the Idaho Racing Commission say they'll run out of money by 2018, leaving them unable to regulate the state's horse racing industry unless lawmakers help funnel funds their way.

However, top Republican leaders say they no longer trust the racing industry because of their ongoing efforts to reinstate illegal instant racing betting terminals. Instant horse racing allows bettors to place wages on prior horse races with no identifiable information.

Idaho Statesman

The president's executive action is getting mixed reactions from the business community in Idaho. The spectrum of responses runs from concern for workers' families and the talent pool – to silence.

The Idaho National Laboratory contributed $1.9 billion to the state's economic output in fiscal year 2016, about 20 percent more than 2015.

The Post Register reports that according to a new report by Rexburg's Research & Business Development Center, the lab's gross economic activity made up 2.9 percent of the state's total economic fiscal year, which ended Sept. 30.

CompassioninWorldFarming / Flickr

Idaho’s dairy industry will be watching the new Trump administration’s trade policy, as one of the state’s biggest sectors is bracing for a flat year.

The president of the Idaho Dairymen’s Association told an agriculture conference last month that any increase in Idaho’s milk production would be exported abroad.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture forecasts that by November of this year, dairy exports will be 8.9 billion pounds – that’s slightly higher than last November’s 8.7 billion pounds.

PNC Financial Services Group

The slow recovery of the U.S. economy is continuing to keep the cost of Christmas from spiraling out of control. 

Pittsburgh-based PNC Financial Services Group has tracked the cost of the gifts mentioned in the "Twelve Days of Christmas" song for the last 33 years. Think of it as a way spice up the otherwise dry topic of inflation.

Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

Idaho is picking up close to $4 million in federal money to prevent and end homelessness.

Tuesday the Department of Housing and Urban Development awarded the state $3.6 million to fund 32 local projects aimed at helping the homeless.

Programs from all corners of the state will receive awards. CATCH of Ada County Rapid Re-housing will pick up $89,000. Idaho Falls Permanent Housing will get $86,000. And Magic Valley Rapid Re-housing will get $44,000.

money, dollars, wages
401(K)2013 / Flickr Creative Commons

Weekly wages in Idaho’s private sector are on the rise, according to a recent report out by the state’s Department of Labor.

Weekly earnings have increased by $30 from the second quarter of 2015 to the second quarter of this year, according to the report.

The 4.2 percent growth rate that’s pushed the weekly wage up to 743 dollars is double the national average. Robust growth like that puts Idaho in fourth place nationally for over-the-year wage growth.

money, budget
Tax Credits / Flickr Creative Commons

Idaho is on track to finish the fiscal year with $139 million more tax revenue than the 2016 Legislature predicted, if the latest forecast holds true.

According to revenue projections released Thursday, Idaho should take in nearly $3.26 billion from state tax and fees for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2017. The amount is $92 million more than what lawmakers originally estimated during this year's legislative session.

real estate, home for sale, housing market
Scott Graf / Boise State Public Radio

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has increased the price of mortgages they will insure in 2017.

This is the first time since 2009 that HUD has increased the amount for federally backed mortgages. Growing demand for housing in Idaho is a factor.

Holiday shopping, Downtown Boise, Retail
Downtown Boise Association / Instagram

As Black Friday approaches, cities in Idaho are reminding shoppers to think about local stores too.

American Express has popularized Small Business Saturday over the last few years. But in McCall, the idea of shopping local during the holidays is a tradition that pre-dates the credit card company’s initiative. That’s according to Nicole Musgrove of McCall’s Chamber of Commerce.

“I think most people try to buy anything they can from local businesses,” says Musgrove.

neetalparekh / Flickr Creative Commons

State officials say Idaho's unemployment rate has remained at 3.8 percent for the past four months.

The Idaho Department of Labor announced Friday that growth in manufacturing, education and health offset jobs shed in national resources, construction and transportation.

The agency says the state's workforce dropped by 200 to 813,000, putting the state's labor force participation rate to 64 percent. The national rate is 62.8 percent.

State officials say the number of unemployed Idaho residents is around 30,900.

Harrison Berry / Boise Weekly

As the Grove Plaza continues to shape up in downtown Boise, the newest addition is the opening of a third Gyro Shack location in the Treasure Valley. But before the local franchise could expand too much, it had to solve a saucy problem. 

Flickr Creative Commons

State officials have approved a utility company's application to build a solar power project southeast of Boise funded by customers who take out subscriptions.

The Idaho Public Utilities Commission late last week approved Idaho Power's application for the 500-kilowatt solar project that would be the state's first utility-owned solar power production facility.

Dan Brubaker Horst / Flickr Creative Commons

Producers in the Idaho-Eastern Oregon area saw onion yields that are larger in both quantity and size this year.

The Capital Press reports that despite the bigger yields in 2016, prices dropped, meaning producers saw about break-even earnings. The Idaho-Eastern Oregon growing region has about 300 growers who produce roughly 25 percent of the United States' Spanish bulb onions.

Southern Idaho's agriculture community was happy to welcome a major Clif Bar production facility recently, but the company's "Mr. Seed" video that criticizes conventional agriculture has been less well received.

The Capital Press reports that the animated video, which is for the Clif Bar Family Foundation, features a foul-mouthed organic seed complaining that conventional agriculture is ruining the world with pesticides, performance-enhancing chemicals and genetically modified organism seed.

Tamarack Resort
A.Davey / Flickr Creative Commons

A homeowners association has purchased parts of the long-troubled Tamarack Resort near Donnelly, Idaho.

The Tamarack Municipal Association purchased the property from the bank group Newtrac, and will now control all skiing operations. The golf course and other parts of the resort are still owned by other entities.

Tamarack opened in 2004, but the original owners went bankrupt a few years later and the resort has struggled ever since.

Peter Barker / Flickr Creative Commons

A lumber mill in northern Idaho has closed down, leaving about 40 people without work.

The Lewiston Tribune reports that Tri-Pro Forest Products closed its Orofino mill on Tuesday. Resource Manager Mike Boeck says a lack of cedar logs forced the company to curtail operations at the Clearwater County mill over the past few weeks.

insurance exchange, computer, your health idaho
Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

Though there will be more options for health insurance available on Your Idaho Health's marketplace this year, premiums will be higher than in 2016.

The Idaho Statesman reports that premiums will be about 24 percent higher on average in 2017 than they were in 2016. The price each person pays depends on factors such as age, geographic location and desired levels of insurance coverage, among other factors.

Vista Outdoor Facebook

Outdoor recreation company Vista Outdoor is planning a $70 million expansion to its ammunition plant in Lewiston.

The Lewiston Tribune reports that the Idaho Department of Commerce announced Monday that Lewiston beat offers from Minnesota, where the company already has a plant, and other states.

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