Economy

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.

Idaho Could Lose More Than 10,000 Defense-Related Jobs

Jul 18, 2012
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.

Why One Idaho Company Is Growing Its Own Workforce

Jul 16, 2012
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.

Boise's "Hole" Will Get New Building

Jul 12, 2012

Men in suits and ties and women in heels and blazers grasped the rail as they walked carefully down a set of rickety metal stairs Thursday afternoon. They gathered under the hot sun in a hole in the ground, surrounded by construction equipment and hard hats. They celebrated that the infamous hole in Boise's downtown on Eighth and Main will finally be filled.

Idaho Housing Market Shows Steady Improvement

Jul 12, 2012
Molly Messick / StateImpact Idaho

RealtyTrac’s midyear foreclosure report gives emphasis to the mantra we’ve been hearing all year about Idaho’s housing market: it’s improving.

A Rancher, A Logger, And Economic Fate In Rural Idaho

Jul 11, 2012
Molly Messick / StateImpact Idaho

In Idaho, the timber and ag industries are heavy hitters.  They play big roles in the state’s history and identity.  But the recession has dealt them different hands, dividing rural Idaho into winners and losers.  StateImpact Idaho takes a look at two industries, two counties, and two economic fates. 

USDA

A recent discovery in an Idaho potato field has Northwest spud growers worried. Researchers this week reported that insects from the Twin Falls area tested positive for bacteria that cause “zebra chip disease.”

The disease doesn’t pose a health risk to humans but potato researcher Andy Jensen says it can render entire crops un-marketable.

“If you take an infected tuber and you slice it and fry it like a potato chip -- it develops stripes that look just like zebra stripes," Jensen explains. "I mean a farmer can’t sell something that’s affected by this.”

The Brookings Institution

Boise home values have improved by nearly five percent from their post-recession low.  That’s enough of an increase that a recent Brookings Institution report ranks the city first for its house price recovery.  StateImpact reported that finding early this week.

Molly Messick / StateImpact Idaho

Boise earned sixth place in a recent ranking of cities’ economic recoveries, a strong finish that’s based largely on improvement in local home prices.

Courtesy Dick Vinson

It’s a rare thing for a small sawmill to try to get up and running while a crucial market driver for lumber — housing construction — remains in a national slump.

So when the Emerald Forest Products mill reopened in Emmett, Idaho this month, something unusual was happening.

Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

The committee that oversees compensation for state legislators today attempted to clarify when lawmakers may claim the $122 per diem payment intended for those who maintain a second residence during the legislative session.  That payment became a source of controversy last fall, after the AP reported that one state senator claimed it while staying with his parents, and another claimed it while staying on his law firm’s couch.

Courtesy Dick Vinson

Stories about mill towns tend to go something like this: generations of families work at the local sawmill.  Then, the mill shuts down, taking hundreds of jobs with it.  Emmett, Idaho is one of those towns.  Boise Cascade closed its mill here in 2001.  But that’s not where this story ends.  Instead, it picks up with a Montana entrepreneur and millions in stimulus funding.

The expanse of ground where Boise Cascade used to operate is quiet and overgrown.  Buildings are boarded up.  A pair of quail struts across an open lot.  But on one corner of the property, there’s activity again.

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