Economy

Gene Han / Flickr

Idaho’s unemployment rate dropped in November to its lowest rate in nearly seven years, in part because the labor force is shrinking.

Idaho Department of Labor spokesman Bob Fick says November's 3.9 percent jobless rate was down two-tenths of a point from October.

“There’s usually a decline in jobs from October to November and that decline was less than in the past and there continue to be people who left the labor force,” says Fick. “So the combination of steady jobs and lower labor force was responsible for driving down the unemployment rate under four percent.”

For the Northwest wine industry this is crunch time. A massive rail and trucking facility in southeast Washington is pushing its final shipments out to arrive on store shelves before the New Year.

Northwest farmers and orchardists are among the potential beneficiaries if the U.S. and Cuba normalize their relationship and the trade embargo ends.

A new Census Bureau report out Wednesday indicates the economic recovery is lifting children out of poverty unevenly around the Northwest.

A slowdown at Western ports is now aggravating farmers across the Northwest.

Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

The school day is over at Boise’s Whitney Elementary but the playground is full of children. About 140 kids each day take part in the afterschool program at the adjacent Whitney Community Center.

It has tutors to help with homework. There’s book clubs, arts and crafts, board games, basketball, outside activities, and pool and computer games for the older kids who walk over from South Junior High. Director Barbara English says some kids stay until the center closes at 7:00, but not because of all the stuff to do.

Why Idaho Is One Of The Most Generous States

Dec 15, 2014
philanthropy.com

A recent report from the finance website Wallet Hub says Idaho is the third most-generous state (tied with Kansas). Utah and South Dakota topped the list. Wallet Hub looked at volunteer time and money donated using IRS statistics and survey data.

New York Times, unemployment, jobs, men
New York Times

The New York Times reports there are nine counties in Idaho where at least 25 percent of men are not working. The report draws on data about men aged 25 to 54. The Times says they averaged data from U.S. Census Bureau American Community Surveys taken between 2009 and 2013.

Federal investigators say a Boise-based restaurant chain must pay $230,000 in unpaid overtime and damages to more than 50 workers.

The U.S. Department of Labor announced Monday that Chapala Mexican Restaurant violated overtime laws at its Boise, Nampa, Garden City and McCall locations.

Authorities tell the Idaho Statesman that the restaurant owners also failed to pay cooks and tip employees for all hours worked.

Officials with cheesemaker Glanbia Foods have announced an $82 million expansion of manufacturing plants in south-central Idaho.

The company in a statement on Thursday says the expansion at its headquarters in Twin Falls and a plant in Gooding will add up to 50 new jobs.

The company says the expansion will help meet demand for whey — a byproduct from cheese-making.

Data Points To Early Signs Of An Ada County Housing Bubble

Dec 3, 2014
house, sold sign, yard
Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

The housing-market research firm RealtyTrac finds that Ada County is showing early signs of a home-price bubble, based on affordability and an uptick in the foreclosure rate.

snow, tree, weather
Jim Bauer / Flickr Creative Commons

The U.S. Forest Service's new supervisor for the 4-million-acre Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forest in northern Idaho says the agency might offer more trees for sale.

Cheryl Probert says the Johnson Bar salvage and others projects related to the 9-square-mile fire last summer could increase timber harvest.

The Lewiston Tribune reports that Probert met on Monday with Clearwater County commissioners, who want more timber harvested.

Google Earth

Meridian will be getting a new YMCA, city park and elementary school. The Treasure Valley YMCA announced Thursday it will build its first new facility since opening the Caldwell Y nine years ago. The new South Y will be built in Meridian south of I-84 near Eagle Road and Amity.

It will be built on 22 acres of donated land. The J.A. and Katherine Albertson Foundation is donating $4 million to start the project.  

A slowdown in operations at ports up and down the West Coast is choking off the flow of apples, Christmas trees, potatoes and other Northwest products to foreign markets.

An arctic air mass has swept into the Northwest. Cold air and snow are expected from central Washington through central Oregon and even into Idaho’s central Panhandle.

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