Economy

Scott Ki / Boise State Public Radio

Gas prices in Idaho continue to climb, so people are looking at other ways to commute.  They walk, bike, bus, or take a public van.  Ada County Highway District runs one of the oldest vanpool programs in the nation. Commuteride  started in the 1970s.  

Horizon Air

Editor's Note: This story has been updated with additional information. The original story stated that by the end of the summer, Horizon Air's nearly 900 pilots and flight attendants would also call Boise, Idaho, Medford, Oregon and Spokane, Washington home. We've clarified this to say that by the end of the summer 300 of those 900 flight crews will be based in Boise, Medford and Spokane. 

Session Wrap: What Passed, What Flopped

Apr 3, 2012
Tom Kelly / Flickr

The 2012 Legislature adjourned late last week, accomplishing its only constitutional duty, which is to pass a balanced budget.  StateImpact Idaho’s Emilie Ritter Saunders has watched the budget process closely.  Saunders told Samantha Wright there weren’t many surprises this session, but there were a couple of things that didn’t pan out, including creating a state health care exchange.

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megamillions.com

Sales are brisk across the Northwest for today’s MegaMillions drawing. The $540 million lottery jackpot is being called the largest in world history. The high-profile jackpot also means state lotteries of  Idaho, Oregon, and Washington  are anticipating a payday of their own.

Hecla Mining

Laid-off silver miners in north Idaho aren’t staying out-of-work for long. Around 250 miners and contractors lost their jobs at the end of last year when the Lucky Friday Mine was shut down for safety improvements. But since then, the Silver Valley’s unemployment rate has actually dropped two percentage points.

Home prices continue to fall in much of the Northwest. New figures released Tuesday show yet another drop in both Seattle and Portland. 

The S&P/Case-Schiller Index measures housing prices in 20 large metropolitan areas around the country. The newest figures are through January and in them, both Seattle and Portland hit new lows for the current economic downturn. Average home prices in both cities are down about four percent from a year ago.

Steve Thoele is an agent with Keller-Williams Realty in Portland. He blogs about housing trends in Oregon.

Scott Ki / Boise State Public Radio

An explosion at Micron Technology in Boise injured seven people Tuesday.  The injuries were minor and damage is limited to a utility room. 

The call for emergency crews came in at about ten Tuesday morning.  A piece of equipment at Micron’s campus exploded.  Boise Fire Chief Dennis Doan says the accident happened in a utility room underground, below where semiconductors are fabricated. "It did move a concrete wall.  It was a fairly significant explosion down in that room."

Scentsy Becomes A Multimillion Dollar Business

Mar 26, 2012
Emilie Ritter Saunders / StateImpact Idaho

Many Idaho companies issued a fair number of pink slips during the recession.  But Meridian-based Scentsy didn’t.

Instead, the wickless-candle maker grew.  It’s ranked among the country’s most promising companies by business magazines like Forbes and Inc.com.  In just seven years, Scentsy has become a multimillion dollar enterprise.

Idaho’s Jobless Rate Falls To 8.0 Percent

Mar 23, 2012
job fair, Meridian, unemployment
Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

The Idaho Department of Labor reports February’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate has fallen for the seventh straight month to 8.0 percent.

The 85-cent ATM fee that JPMorgan Chase charges Washington welfare clients could soon be a thing of the past. The state hopes to have a deal by the end of the month with JPMorgan on a new, lower cost contract for electronic benefits. 

We first reported on the 85-cent fee because JPMorgan Chase wasn’t disclosing it at ATM machines. Now the fee is disclosed. But critics say it amounts to a tax on the poor.

Molly Messick / Boise State Public Radio

Boise resident C.K. Haun has this routine down.  He may live in Idaho, but he’s a senior engineer at Apple.  Long before the sun is up, he arrives at the Boise Airport, to catch his regular flight to San Jose.  “I can do this by autopilot now,” he says. “Most of the TSA people know me, and we smile and say hi.  Every Monday morning, week in week out!”  Continue reading...

 

BOISE, ID – Three years ago the American Society of Civil Engineers gave the nation’s infrastructure a D grade.  This year, a local branch of the organization says Idaho does slightly better than the U.S.

Think report card.  Idaho would get a C minus overall for its infrastructure.  Things like bridges, state highways, and public transit.  Idaho did worst for upkeep of bridges and highways – a D plus.  Seth Olsen is a Boise civil engineer.  He helped put this report together.

Scott Ki / Boise State Public Radio

BOISE, ID – Three years ago the American Society of Civil Engineers gave the nation’s infrastructure a D grade.  This year, a local branch of the organization says Idaho does slightly better than the U.S.

Think report card.  Idaho would get a C minus overall for its infrastructure.  Things like bridges, state highways, and public transit.  Idaho did worst for upkeep of bridges and highways – a D plus.  Seth Olsen is a Boise civil engineer.  He helped put this report together.

Jessica Robinson / Northwest News Network

The Idaho Department of Labor estimates there are at least 63,000 people in the state without work.  That doesn’t include thousands more who are underemployed or have stopped looking for a job.  This is the latest story in StateImpact Idaho's “Jobless in Idaho” series, that follows several Idahoans in their search for work.

Boise, ID – More than half a trillion dollars worth of goods flowed into U.S. Foreign Trade Zones during fiscal year 2010.  Companies use these zones because it saves them money when they bring products into the country.  Idaho has one in Eastport near the Canadian border.  Another will open in Caldwell in a few weeks.

A foreign trade zone sounds glamorous, but the reality is a bit mundane.  The one opening in Caldwell is really an industrial park with new office buildings that quickly give way to farm fields:

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