Economy

Molly Messick / StateImpact Idaho

Some jobs are more dangerous than others. New federal data shows which occupations are the most deadly. Some of them are common in Idaho.

Oregon's Unemployment Increases

Sep 18, 2012

Since reaching a peak of about 11.5 percent during the recent recession, Oregon's unemployment rate had been falling - albeit very slowly. 

But since May, it's been climbing again from a low of 8.4 percent to now 8.9 percent. 

Northwest Marijuana Growers Get Creative

Sep 4, 2012
U.S. Forrest Service

This month growers across the U.S. are harvesting illegal marijuana plants.  The number of plants seized by law enforcement has dropped nationwide, but Northwest growers aren’t backing down.  In fact, they’re just changing tactics.  Lt. Mark Brogan is with the Washington State Patrol.

“We’ve found several this season, which usually is the month of August, early part of September, and late July," Brogan says.  "We’re finding grows, I would say almost daily.”

Idaho Aims For Job Growth Through Gun Manufacturing

Aug 29, 2012
Gun
Molly Messick / StateImpact

A few years ago, state leaders got the idea to promote Idaho to the outdoor industry, including gun manufacturers.  After all, Idaho is a more firearms-friendly place than most.  More than half of Idahoans own guns, and state law shields firearms manufacturers from liability.

Chobani, Greek Yogurt
Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

Inc. Magazine’s list of the 5,000 fastest-growing private companies was released this week, and 18 Idaho businesses made the cut.

To qualify, companies apply by providing relevant financials and a general description of their business.

Molly Messick / StateImpact

Some of Idaho’s most fertile farm ground has been hit by the drought that’s crippling crops nationwide.  Farmers who have deep wells and irrigation are faring well.  Those who don’t aren’t.  It’s one indication of the very different economics of dry-land and irrigated farming.

drought, field, agriculture
Molly Messick / Boise State Public Radio

In Idaho’s arid, high desert, the drought has a mixed effect.  There’s a big divide between farmers with deep wells and irrigation, and those without.

Hans Hayden is a rare find: a talkative farmer.  He likes to explain things.  But when it comes to the wheat he planted this spring, there’s not much to say.  This field needed rain it didn’t get. 

Almost 20,000 more Idahoans had jobs this July compared to last. The Idaho Department of Labor reports July’s seasonally adjusted jobless rate dropped two-tenths of a percentage point from June to 7.5 percent.  That’s a three-year low, and it’s better than the national rate of 8.3 percent.

Peggy Greb / USDA

Starting today, fresh potatoes from Idaho, Oregon and Washington can no longer be exported to South Korea.

As Capital Press reported earlier this week, Korea’s export ban results from concerns over an insect-borne disease that causes light yellow potato flesh to darken and stripe — the zebra chip.

California Refinery Fire Could Cause Gas Price Hike

Aug 9, 2012
MadMup / Flickr

Northwest drivers could be paying more at the pump. That’s because this week’s refinery fire in California is likely to affect gas prices.

Analysts say get ready to pay as much as four dollars or more per gallon. You can blame the refinery fire in California for the spike. But what does that have to do with fuel prices here?

Molly Messick / StateImpact

Before the recession hit, the sawmill in the North Idaho town of Laclede was known for its reliability.  It had never seen a shutdown, not in Steve Spletstoser’s nearly 30 years of working there.  Then came 2008.

It was really eye-opening to see,” Spletstoser says.  “Your livelihood is hanging in the balance.”  Day after day, the mill cut lumber, and day after day it piled up.  Very little left the lot.

Casey Serin / Flickr

If you’re in the market for a five story office building, the federal government has one for you. The U.S. General Services Administration or GSA is selling the federal building in Moscow Idaho starting Tuesday. It currently houses courts and a post office but there is some empty space and the GSA thinks it would be more cost effective to sell the 40 year old building. Stephanie Kenitzer, a spokeswoman for the agency’s northwest/arctic region, says this is part of a national push to decrease federal property.

Allegiant Air

Allegiant Air, known for its low cost direct flights, will now fly out of Boise.  The airline announced new flights from Boise to Las Vegas starting in October and Boise to Honolulu beginning in February.

Here’s the press release from Allegiant:

Jessica Robinson / Northwest News Network

The housing market in the Northwest is finally showing signs of recovery. But there’s one sector of real estate that never let up during the economic downturn. Real estate agents who sell what’s known as “survival realty” are experiencing boom times.

BOISE, ID – The Idaho Steelheads hockey team and Idaho Stampede basketball team call Century Link Arena in downtown Boise home.  A new study shows the venue generates nearly eight million new dollars to the local economy each year.

Boise State University’s Center for Business Research and Economic Development prepared the report.  Brian Greber  leads the center.

Brian Greber:  "What we did is looked at how much money was spent from people that were coming to the valley from outside the valley."

Ada County Commissioners say they'll hold the line on the budget.  The 2012-2013 proposed budget will be up for public comment tonight.  Every year, the three commissioners have the option to levy a three percent tax increase on current property owners in the county. 

Every time you buy a smartphone or a tablet, you’re buying a little piece of silver inside. The expected global appetite for more and more silver-containing technology has spurred a corporate clash over mines in a remote corner of north Idaho.

If you meet a miner in Idaho’s Silver Valley, chances are, he either works for the Hecla Mining Company or U.S. Silver Corp. But last week, Hecla moved to effectively make the companies one and the same.

In an unsolicited bid, Coeur d’Alene-based Hecla offered to buy out shares of its Toronto-based competitor at $1.80 Canadian.

New figures out Friday show the U.S. economy is growing at a slower pace than previously thought. That's due in part to weak consumer spending and a rise in imports.

The new figures from the U.S. Department of Commerce show an annual growth rate in the gross domestic product of just 1.5 percent for the second quarter. That's a drop from the first quarter and it's another sign of a weak economic recovery.

But state level figures released last month show that Oregon and Washington's gross domestic product is higher than the national average.

Master Sgt. Kevin J. Gruenwald / U.S. Air Force

As federal lawmakers debate how to avoid falling off the looming fiscal cliff, a report commissioned for the Aerospace Industries Association shows Idaho could lose 10,411 defense-related jobs.  The U.S. could face job losses totaling two million, according to the report.

Emilie Ritter Saunders / StateImpact

About half of all Idaho jobs fall into the middle-skills category.  Think mechanics, welders, police officers, or air traffic controllers.  These are jobs where you need more than a high school diploma, but less than a college degree.

According to the National Skills Coalition, not quite half of Idaho’s workers are trained for these jobs.  While many Idaho schools are ramping up efforts to train workers, the pipeline isn’t full yet, so one Idaho business has taken training into its own hands.

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