Economy

Paul VanDerWerf / Flickr Creative Commons

If you own a home in Ada County, you may have received a letter in the mail last week from the county assessor’s office. And that letter probably said your property value had gone up, maybe even substantially.

That's good news for those wanting to sell their house or those who’ve been underwater on their mortgage. But the increases could mean higher taxes, and it could actually be bad news for the economy. 

The federal government is providing $4.2 million of federal assistance to workers recently laid off at the J.R. Simplot Company and an Idaho Falls call center.

The U.S. Department of Labor announced Thursday that $2.6 million will be available for the 435 workers who were laid off from August 2013 to April of this year at J.R. Simplot facilities.

Another $1.6 million will be allocated to the nearly 200 workers who were affected by a March 31 closure at Center Partners call center in Idaho Falls.

A Boise-based construction supply and services company says it's moving its headquarters to Atlanta because it wants access to a larger population and better airline service.

Sarah hedrick

Ketchum’s Iconoclast Books has been a fixture in the community for 20 years. But next month, the store will permanently close its doors unless owner Sarah Hedrick can raise $85,000 to pay off debts.

Hedrick and her late husband Gary Hunt were partners in their bookstore. They each had different jobs. Hedrick says she had all the fun ones.

“Buying and merchandising and finding new lines, that kind of stuff,” Hedrick says. “And he was definitely the person in the office.”   

Hailey, Idaho / Flickr

Runway work at a central Idaho airport that serves the resort area of Ketchum and Sun Valley has been completed.

Friedman Memorial Airport officials in Hailey tell the Idaho Mountain Express that the runway opened Thursday.

The work involved moving a taxiway 70 feet away from the runway.

Workers shut down the runway on April 22 as part of a $34 million project intended to meet Federal Aviation Administration safety requirements. Most of the cost is being covered by a series of federal grants.

When you think organic, you probably visualize fresh, sweet-smelling fruits and vegetables. But what makes that delicious organic produce grow?

Cruise season has begun in the Pacific Northwest with the arrival of gleaming cruise ships. They'll be steaming back-and-forth to Alaska all summer from Vancouver and Seattle.

According to newly-released data from the USDA's agricultural census, the number of farms in the Northwest is dropping.

Butch Otter
State of Idaho

 Idaho Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter is launching an initiative he says will boost economic development using planning collaboration but not much spending.

The governor announced the plan, called Accelerate Idaho, Thursday afternoon. The initiative establishes a checklist of areas needing improvement, including K-12 education, infrastructure and labor shortages in key industries.

sign, Idaho
Jessica Robinson / Northwest News Network

A new Gallup poll reveals a high rate of Idahoans are planning to leave the state. The poll measures how many people would prefer to be in a different state, given the chance.

Overall, the Northwest has a pretty loyal crowd. Oregonians, in particular, are quite happy where they are.

Public Or Private? See The Top 5 Employers In Your Idaho County

Apr 29, 2014

Exactly half of Idaho's top employers in each of its 44 counties are private businesses, while the other half are government entities.

That's a change from 2012 when we reported on the same data. Then, the top employers in 28 counties were public and 16 were private sector businesses.

Data that companies submitted to the Idaho Department of Labor in 2013 show the top five employers in all 44 counties, and how many people each employs.

facebook.com/declara.inc

A software company with an Idaho presence is expanding its operations thanks to an influx of cash. Palo Alto-based Declara announced a new $16 million investment Wednesday.

The company’s Boise office of 10 developers will double because of that, a spokesman says. It also plans to expand its offices in California and Mexico.

Call Center Job Fair
Molly Messick / Boise State Public Radio

Idaho's unemployment rate has dropped to its lowest point since August 2008.  It dropped a tenth of a percent in March to 5.2 percent. 

Bob Fick is with the Idaho Department of Labor. He says the March data continues a trend that started a year and a half ago.

“We’ve seen job creation at two percent to three percent over the last 18 months, while the national rate has been about 1.5, 1.6 every month, year over year," Fick says. "So we’re creating jobs at a significant pace."

Ross Elliott / Flickr Creative Commons

The Coeur d'Alene Tribe in northern Idaho plans to offer poker after deciding Idaho's constitutional ban on the game doesn't apply to the tribal-owned casino.

The Spokesman-Review reports the tribe has announced plans to open a poker room on May 2.

The tribe says it will offer Texas Hold' Em and Omaha.

Tribe spokesman Helo Hancock says several legal opinions have led the tribe to conclude that poker is exempted from state regulation under the federal Indian Gaming Regulatory Act.

Many Northwest alfalfa growers had a rough year with bad weather last summer.

Officials say the Pullman-Moscow Regional Airport needs improvements to keep up with more demand and bigger aircraft.

Airport Executive Director Tony Bean says the airport has fallen behind the times due to aircraft increasing in size.

Bean says there isn't the space and capacity to land current-size aircraft safely, and as the trend doesn't seem likely to change, the problem will only worsen.

smcgee / Flickr

The executive director of the Idaho Wine Commission says the state is getting national attention for its wines.

Moya Dolsby credits a $400,000 annual budget funded through the state liquor tax and wine industry assessment as well as enthusiastic supporters.

Dolsby tells the Lewiston Tribune that she no longer has to beg restaurants and retailers to try Idaho wines.

The state's wine industry has grown from a single commercial winery in 1976 to 50 today.

Northwest asparagus growers are just starting to harvest spears in the warmer sites around Pasco, Wash.

money, dollars, wages
401(K)2013 / Flickr Creative Commons

Idaho's average wage increased by almost 20 cents last year. But wage growth isn't keeping up with the national average. 

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics' Occupational Employment Survey finds Idaho's average hourly wage for all jobs was $18.67 last year, that's up 19 cents from 2012. Still, Idaho's average wage was almost 84 percent of the national average, which is $22.33 an hour.  

The survey also found that half of Idaho's hourly employees earned $14.68 or less in 2013. That's a 10 cent increase from 2012. 

housing, map
National Low Income Housing Coalition

An Idaho worker earning the minimum wage would need to work 73 hours per week in order to afford a modest two-bedroom rental according to a report from the National Low Income Housing Coalition.

Pages