Economy

MPCA Photos / Flickr

With summer just around the corner, peak motoring time is almost here and demand for gas is at record highs.

During the last full week of May, drivers nationwide used a collective 413 million gallons of fuel per day. Despite the record high demand for gas that week, Cars.com attributes an ample supply of crude oil and high output from refineries as a buffer against rising costs, so much so we’re entering the summer with prices the lowest they’ve been in over a decade.

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.

hospital, medical, nurse
Jessica Robinson / Northwest News Network

Idaho continues to experience pockets of severe nursing shortages while better paying jobs in surrounding states are attracting Idaho's nursing graduates, according to a recently released report from the Idaho Department of Labor.

Jethro Taylor / Flickr Creative Commons

As Idaho's housing demands have grown, so has the residential construction industry.

But that boom has a dark side: The Idaho Statesman reports that construction-related serious injuries are a common problem, and some result in deaths.

A Statesman analysis of inspection data from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration found that at least 19 home-construction companies in the Boise region failed three or more inspections between March 2011 and December 2016 because of serious worker-safety violations.

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.

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