Economy

Courtesy: J.R. Simplot Company

Idaho-based J.R. Simplot Company is seeking federal approval to market a second genetically engineered potato.

Simplot won approval for its first modified potato late last year. The “Innate” potato, as it’s branded, is due to be the first genetically engineered spud on the market.

Simplot dubbed the genetically engineered potatoes “Innate” because the inserted genes come from other potatoes.

A drive across the Northwest quickly reveals things look really dry everywhere.

Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

Housing development on Garden City’s riverfront has picked up as the economy has improved.  The momentum is good for local tax rolls, but it also threatens adjacent areas that are home to low-cost housing. Experts say simply replacing that housing stock won't be easy, and that many residents could be displaced with few other housing options.  

Jessica Robinson / Northwest News Network

Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter will lead a group of Idaho-based business leaders on a weeklong trade mission to Peru and Mexico next week.

The trip includes businesses ranging from producers of milk and potatoes to makers of boat docks and skin care products. The companies are aiming to increase exports to Central and South America.

The business leaders will also attend receptions with U.S. Ambassador to Peru Brian A. Nichols next Tuesday and U.S. Ambassador E. Anthony Wayne to Mexico next Thursday.

The Energy Department has awarded grants to scientists in five western states to develop research for a national lab aimed at tapping hard-to-get-to geothermal energy they say someday could provide enough power to supply 100 million homes.

Lynn Orr, energy undersecretary for science, announced Monday research teams in Nevada, California, Idaho, Oregon and Utah also will share the $2 million for the first phase of the project.

Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

The Boise International Market is throwing its grand opening celebration Saturday from 11:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. with live music and dance from around the world. Sixteen individual businesses are now open at the market, and six more are coming soon.

Starting next month, Alaska Airlines will explore charging extra for main cabin seats with more legroom and creature comforts.

Sandor Weisz / Flickr

The Idaho Department of Transportation (ITD) is reminding drivers to remove their studded tires this spring. Idaho law says use of studded tires is only legal between October 1 and April 30, and people caught with them beyond that date could be fined $67.

Studded tires have small metal cleats embedded in the rubber to provide traction on snow and ice.

job fair
Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

Idaho's unemployment rate fell to 3.8 percent in March with 5,400 workers finding jobs in the largest one-month increase on record.

The Idaho Department of Labor in a news release Friday says total employment in the state also set a record by going above 757,000 for the first time.

The agency says the state's unemployment remained at a seven-year low as businesses expanded payrolls.

The agency also says the percentage of working-age adults with jobs or looking for work rose to 63.5 percent.

SkyWest, airplane, airport
Aero Icarus / Flickr Creative Commons

SkyWest Airlines has announced it will soon offer jet flights between West Yellowstone and Salt Lake City to connect passengers with Delta flights.

The Delta Connection flights, operated by SkyWest, will begin in June. The airline says it will run flights twice a day from Thursday through Monday and once each day on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.

The global economy won't sink this year, thanks to the oceans of cheap oil keeping it afloat.

That's the bottom line of the World Economic Outlook, released Tuesday by the International Monetary Fund. The 2015 pace of economic growth will tick up to 3.5 percent, helped along by lower energy costs and weaker currencies.

npr.org/blogs/money

Truck driver is the most common job in most states, including here in Idaho, according to NPR's Planet Money team.

Effort To Raise Idaho's Minimum Wage Focuses On North Idaho Town

Apr 6, 2015

The Coeur d'Alene Press reports a former lawmaker and minimum wage increase advocate Anne Nesse has submitted paperwork to get a minimum wage increase on the local ballot. Voters may have the chance to raise the local minimum wage from $7.25 an hour to $8.75 in 2016, then $10.25 in 2017.

Northwest asparagus fields are sprouting about 10 days earlier than usual this spring. It’s in time for Easter brunch, but a headache for farmers.

Dennis S. Hurd / Flickr Creative Commons

This story was updated at 5:44 p.m.:

An Allegiant Air pilots' strike was averted after a judge blocked the walkout late Wednesday afternoon. The strike was set to happen Thursday.

Original post:

Allegiant Air passengers may have to make alternate travel plans because the budget airlines' pilots plan to strike beginning Thursday. The strike could impact flights across the country, including in Idaho.

The Idaho Senate decided to kill a major overhaul to Idaho’s tax system Tuesday.

Scott Graf / Boise State Public Radio

Real estate data company RealtyTrac says Boise is in better shape than most of the country when it comes to the difference between wages and home prices.

RealtyTrac looked at wage growth and home price growth from 2012 to 2014 in the nation’s 184-largest metro areas. Nationally, price growth outpaced wage growth 13-to-one. RealtyTrac vice president Daren Blomquist says in Boise, it was closer to four-to-one.

Samantha Wright / Boise State Public Radio

A three-part tax bill that would eliminate the grocery sales tax and lower income taxes on top earners has passed an Idaho House panel.

The bill by House Republican leadership would also include a seven-cent fuel tax increase, which would raise $65 million per year to address Idaho's transportation funding shortfall.

Under the tax plan, Idahoans in the top income tax bracket would see their rate drop from 7.4 percent to 6.7 percent.

Donnie Ray Jones / Flickr Creative Commons

The owners of Les Bois Park in Garden City say they'll close the facility permanently if the Idaho Legislature bans instant racing. A bill to do away with the betting terminals – which critics say too closely resemble slot machines – is making its way through the Legislature.

Eurupean Parliament / Flickr Creative Commons

This weekend, a group of hackers and computer programmers will meet in Boise for the annual Code Camp. For the first time, the event will feature a discussion about women in technology. Panelists will include Marianna Budnikova of MetaGeek, Rep. Melissa Wintrow, D-Boise, and Boise State professor Carrie Semmelroth.

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