Economy

Micron, circuit boards
Micron Technology

Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter is getting ready for a nine-day trade mission in Russia.

The Republican governor, his staff and Idaho business leaders will leave Boise Friday.

The trip caps a busy year of international travel for Otter, who has already made official visits to Vietnam, Taiwan and Korea.

iflyboise.com

City officials will cut the ribbon this week on the new control tower at the Boise airport. The tower is 268 feet tall, right in between the height of Idaho’s two tallest buildings in downtown Boise. The $30 million facility actually started full operations last month, about five years after construction began.

DieselDemon / Flickr Creative Commons

A ballot measure in the Sun Valley area is emblematic of the challenges facing small airports across the West. Residents of Hailey and Ketchum, Idaho decide Tuesday whether to raise city taxes to subsidize commercial airline service.

Voters in the neighboring Idaho resort towns are being asked to raise the lodging and rental car tax, and in the case of Ketchum add a 1 percent retail sales tax, although groceries and gas would be exempt from the higher tax.

Northwest residents who rely on food stamps will have to pinch their pennies even more. Starting Friday, federal food assistance benefits are being cut.

Avimor, housing market
Scott Graf / Boise State Public Radio

When the idea for a planned community north of Eagle first came about in 2002, the housing market was strong. But final approval for the 35 square mile project known as Avimor didn’t come until 2008. By then, home sales in the Treasure Valley had tanked.

Data: Ada County Association of Realtors | Chart: Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

Nearly every seat at the Ada County Association of Realtors classroom is taken during a recent training session. The 50 people in attendance are here to become realtors. ACAR director and class teacher Marc Lebowitz  says as the Treasure Valley's housing market picks up, more people are signing up to become realtors. 

“We’re going to go over so much stuff today, it’s going to make your head spin,” Lebowitz tells the class.

Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

Boise Inc., the Boise-based company that makes cardboard products was officially purchased by Packaging Corporation of America late last week

Scott Graf / Boise State Public Radio

The Treasure Valley housing market is coming off its hottest summer in years. In July, Ada County home sales were up nearly 40 percent over July of 2012. The average price was up by about 20 percent.

The stats all points to a market that’s recovering from the housing bust of just a few years ago. But there’s one aspect of the industry that hasn’t been quick to recover: new home construction.

When the housing market was at its worst, a glut of new homes made it a buyer’s dream.

Transportation, megaload
Jessica Robinson / Northwest News Network

A subsidiary of General Electric says it’s looking for alternative options for moving huge water purification equipment from the Northwest to Alberta, Canada.

A route through the middle of Idaho turned into a legal battle with the Nez Perce Tribe, but the alternatives are limited.

Resources Conservation Company International, the GE subsidiary, decided to withdraw a federal appeal that sought to re-open Idaho's Highway 12 to so-called “megaloads.” A judge had ordered the Forest Service to close the wild and scenic corridor to the shipments.

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

The Boise housing market is coming off the strongest sales period the region has seen since before the housing bubble burst in 2008. Low interest rates and relatively low demand helped drive home values higher this summer.  

Transportation, megaload
Jessica Robinson / Northwest News Network

A General Electric Co. subsidiary has given up its legal fight to haul the second of two huge loads of water purification equipment through the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forest and will find another way to get the equipment to the Canadian oil fields.

The Lewiston Tribune reports Resources Conservation Company International filed documents Thursday saying it was dropping its emergency motion to stay an injunction that prevented it from using the U.S. Highway 12 route.

You've probably heard this phrase before when discussing a messy relationship: "It's complicated." Those are the words the president of Alaska and Horizon airlines used Thursday to describe the state of the alliance between the Seattle-based carriers and Delta Air Lines.

Washington and Idaho want recently furloughed federal workers to repay unemployment benefits. But a quirk in Oregon law means affected workers there will get to keep whatever they received.

Over the last 20 years, the number of sheep in the U.S. has plummeted by half. The sheep industry has actually been declining since the late 1940s, when it hit its peak.

The sharp drop in production has left ranchers to wonder, "When are we going to hit the bottom?"

Some sheep are raised for their wool, others primarily for food. Consumption of both products — lamb meat and wool — have been declining in the U.S.

Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

Food maker Clif Bar plans to build a $160 million baking facility in Twin Falls. The California-based company says it will employ 250 people and begin production in late 2016.

City manager Travis Rothweiler says the impact of Clif Bar coming to town will be huge. He's excited about the new jobs, and he thinks Clif Bar will be an excellent corporate citizen. Rothweiler says the company treats employees well and likes to be involved in communities where it operates.

Richard Thomas / Flickr Creative Commons

A California-based energy food bar company is planning to break ground on a new baking facility in Twin Falls early in 2015.

Clif Bar company officials joined Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter and Twin Falls leaders Thursday in announcing the plans. The company anticipates creating 250 jobs when the facility is up and running in late 2016.

Company officials say they intend to invest $160 million into the new facility, with $90 million slotted for the first phase.

Anyone waiting to learn about unemployment in Idaho for the month of September is just going to have to be patient.

The monthly jobless report was supposed to be released Friday.

But the 16-day partial federal government shutdown has put that deadline in jeopardy, and state labor officials say they have no idea when the latest unemployment figures will be ready for public release. State officials say the lack of federal staff has made calculation of jobless claims and other data impossible.

Courtesy of Sen. Mike Crapo's office

Update, Oct. 17, 9:23 a.m.

Associated Press:

Three of four of Idaho congressional members cast votes in opposition to the hard-fought legislation that ended the partial 16-day government shutdown and averted a potential federal default.

U.S. Sens. Mike Crapo and Jim Risch voted against the bill late Wednesday, as did Rep. Raul Labrador when the House took up the compromise measure.

Hakan Dahlstrom / Flickr Creative Commons

Grumbling about price is a perennial gas pump activity, but right now Idahoans really do have something to complain about. Idaho’s average gas price is at $3.62 per gallon. That’s 27 cents higher than the national average. Idaho's prices are also higher than they were this time last year, while most of the country has gone the opposite direction. Why the difference?

beancounter / Flickr

A temporary increase in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or food stamps, expires at the end of October. That means 47 million Americans, including 221,717  people in Idaho, will see less money each month for food.

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