Economy

drought, field, agriculture
Molly Messick / Boise State Public Radio

Idaho may be known as the potato state – and there’s good reason for it. On a per capita basis, the state generates the most money from agriculture out of any western state.


billandkent / Flickr Creative Commons

Boise Weekly reports McCall is facing a shortage of seasonal workers to staff its hotels and restaurants this summer.

Gary O. Grimm / Flickr Creative Commons

The gymnasium at Park School in Weiser is full of third, fourth and fifth-grade students. Standing next to the stage, Principal Angela Halvorson introduces Assistant Professor Brian Jackson from Boise State University.

“And he is going to talk to us all about this cool thing that’s coming, the total solar eclipse. Can you please give him a round of applause . . . "

Jackson is traveling around Idaho this summer to talk to kids and adults about the eclipse.

In recent years, the powerful and at times unexpected impacts of globalization have sent shock waves through our country’s political, economic and social systems. The promise that open trade and investment would bring new jobs, economic growth and price stability has not materialized for many Americans, who have seen their standard of living stagnate or diminish. At the same time, there is widespread disagreement about what our country needs to do to more effectively compete in the current global marketplace.

Economic Innovation Group

The Economic Innovation Group is a Washington D.C.-based research and advocacy group focused on the decline of entrepreneurship and rising income inequality. Policy director John Lettieri says despite a popular narrative that disruption and change is constant in the business world, entrepreneurship across the country is actually quite static.

Lettieri says low job turnover, employment in startup companies and slow migration patterns represent that something fundamental is changing in the economy.

Mary Esch / AP Photo

A new statewide Community Assessment has some dramatic findings, especially for Idaho kids.

The United Way of Treasure Valley released their latest Community Assessment Thursday. Conducted every three years, the research is a snapshot of local issues, from health to education to financial stability.

The decades after World War II were a golden age when many people around the world enjoyed an increasingly good quality of life. But by the early 1970s, the good times had all but vanished as energy shortages, financial crises and rising unemployment shook economies in America and around the world.

Rural schools, Idaho County, bus
Frankie Barnhill / Boise State Public Radio

Skip Hall has been a teacher at Grangeville High School for 31 years. His early American history class with freshmen and sophomores will be one of his last: he’s retiring at the end of the school year.

As Hall’s class works together on projects, he takes a moment to reflect on the state of education in his district.

“The biggest thing I see is lack of choice for the students," Hall says.

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.

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Update, April 20: The Valley County team did not take home one of the top prizes in Denver, despite making it to the finals. 

Interfaith Sanctuary

Boise’s Interfaith Sanctuary is holding a musical benefit Thursday night at the Record Exchange. Its directors say they’ve changed how they look at homelessness and now rely more than ever on the generosity of the community.

Interfaith Co-Director Jodi Peterson says in the past, the Sanctuary had two licensed social workers to serve 164 guests at night at the shelter. But Peterson says that wasn’t enough. So they upped the budget from $650,000 to one million dollars, and now employ 10 case managers.

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.

capitol, statehouse, idaho
Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

Idaho Governor Butch Otter said Monday during his State of the State address that education is his top priority for his fiscal year 2018 budget request.

His speech focused on education, tax relief and Idaho’s economy.

“Our finances are secure. Revenue is exceeding expectations. Economic growth is outpacing the overall growth of government and our own operations are more transparent and efficient than ever,” says Otter.

He is also proposing some tax relief.

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