Economy

wheat, grain, agriculture, montana
Daimon Eklund / Flickr Creative Commons

The Northwest wheat harvest is in full swing, but the export of grain has all but stopped at the Port of Vancouver, Wash. The shipments have been blocked because Washington state inspectors have stopped checking grain for export at the port because they don't want to cross a picket line in a labor dispute.

Farmers are calling for those inspections to resume after harvesting about 40 percent of Washington's wheat. Washington Wheat Growers Association President Nicole Berg farms 21,000 acres near the Tri-Cities.

delta, atlanta, airport
Courtesy: Delta Airlines

The head of the Boise Metro Chamber of Commerce says lining up daily, non-stop flights to a major East Coast hub is now the local business community's top priority.

The airport has again applied for a federal grant that, if successful, would be used to help cover costs for an airline if the route proves to be initially unprofitable. The city applied for a similar grant last year but was unsuccessful.

Officials with the Elks Rehab System in Boise have sent letters to local mayors announcing layoffs associated with St. Luke’s takeover of Elks facilities. Elks officials say significant financial and operational challenges are forcing it to hand over its operations to the Idaho healthcare giant. 

boise.coop

The Boise Co-op announced Monday that it would open a second store in the Village at Meridian.

Co-op marketing director Shannon McGuire says two surveys solidified managers goals of opening a second store.

“We asked our shoppers ‘what should we do, where should we go if we considered expansion?’” McGuire says. “And out of that came ‘yes, please do expand and go West.’”

McGuire says survey respondents picked Meridian as their top choice for a second store. The second-most requested store location was Nampa, and McGuire says that could someday become a reality.

whiskey, alcohol, drink
Therese Tjernstrom / Flickr Creative Commons

Some Idaho business owners say the state's laws limiting the number of liquor licenses in each city stunt local economic growth.

The Idaho Statesman reports that Idaho's liquor regulation has resulted in a scarcity of liquor licenses, which in turn has caused business owners to resell licenses at exorbitant costs.

Licenses may be purchased from the state for $750 and in just two years, resold for more than $300,000.

According to Idaho law, each municipality is allotted one liquor license for every 1,500 residents.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has approved emergency haying and grazing on land normally used for the Conservation Reserve Program in parts of eastern Idaho.

Officials in Bingham, Bonneville, Fremont, Madison and Power counties requested the emergency access because of drought and crop damage. The USDA's Farm Service Agency in Idaho announced Monday that the requests were approved.

The emergency haying is allowed through the end of August, and participants must leave at least half of each field unhayed for wildlife. The hay can't be sold.

The intensifying competition between Alaska Airlines and rival Delta Air Lines in the Western skies does not seem to be hurting the bottom line of either company.

Courtesy of Chelan County Emergency Management

Fire crews across the Northwest are dealing with sizzling hot temperatures not just from flames, but also a general heat wave.

You can't wear shorts and a T-shirt to a firefight. So how do you stay cool and functional on the fire line when the thermometer is pushing triple digits? U.S. Forest Service spokesman Joe Anderson says "the main thing is to stay hydrated" and pace yourself.

Graphic Artist: Sam Cornett / Solar Roadways Indiegogo

The solar panels that Idaho inventor Scott Brusaw has built aren't meant for rooftops. They are meant for roads, driveways, parking lots and, eventually, highways.

Brusaw is the head of Solar Roadways, a company that proposes using solar panels to pave the nation's roadways.

The electrical engineer from Sandpoint, Idaho, says the hexagon-shaped panels can withstand the wear and tear from vehicles and inclement weather while generating electricity.

Quinn Dombrowski / Flickr Creative Commons

Just in time for the holiday weekend, the U.S. Census Bureau confirmed Idaho's love of beer.

New data show a national surge in breweries between 2007-2012, with the number more than doubling from 398 to 869. New jobs were created in the industry despite the Great Recession, and shipments of the cold brews climbed more than 33 percent in the five-year span.

U.S. Census Bureau

More than 15 percent of Idahoans live in poverty according to the U.S. Census Bureau. That’s a little higher than the nation as a whole. Now, a new census report shows that Idaho’s poor are becoming increasingly concentrated.

International Market, Boise, food
Photo Courtesy International Market

The Boise International Market is set to open its doors sometime in August. It will start out with 17 micro-businesses selling products from around the world. Developers hope to add more vendors soon after it opens.

Ken Lund / Flickr Creative Commons

New federal population figures out Thursday show the nation’s youngest county is in the midst of eastern Idaho's potato country. Madison County, Idaho.

To give you a comparison, the median age of the United States is almost 38. The median age of Madison County is 23-years-old. That’s the lowest in the country. And there’s one big reason.

Madison County is home to Brigham Young University-Idaho.

Boise International Market, business
Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

A construction crew is busy renovating a dilapidated strip mall on the Boise bench. It’s just a big empty space with torn up floors, but by August this will be the Boise International Market. Lori Porreca is building the market along with her partner Miguel Gaddi.

The market will be home to many small businesses, each in stalls. There will be 17 when it opens and more added later. As Gaddi stands in the main entrance of his construction project, he describes what it will be like.

Kate Ter Haar / Flickr Creative Commons

A Ketchum bookstore will stay in business thanks to donations from its community. Last month, we told you ago about Iconoclast Books owner Sarah Hedrick and her Indiegogo campaign to save her store.

Ken Edmunds, Butch Otter
Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

Acknowledging Idaho's economic development "sins of the past" Tuesday, Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter unveiled a revamped business incentive program that was once touted as a job creator, but Otter now wants it viewed as a way to train workers for high-skill jobs. 

Farmers in Oregon, Idaho and Washington are expected to harvest less wheat this summer. The weather forecast has a lot to do with it.

OSJOBFAIR / Flickr Creative Commons

Idaho’s jobless rate has dipped below 5 percent for the first time in almost six years. 

The Idaho Labor Department reports May’s seasonally adjusted jobless rate was 4.9 percent, that's as total employment grew by 1,000 jobs from April to May.

In May of 2013, nearly 50,000 Idahoans didn’t have jobs. This May, about 38,000 people were out of work.

Dave Bieter
Dave Bieter's Facebook Page / City of Boise

Boise Mayor David Bieter announced Friday that SkyWest Airlines is opening a maintenance facility at the Boise Airport.

During his annual State of the City speech, Bieter said the facility will use an existing hangar at the Jackson Jet Center. “While we’re not sure yet the total number of jobs, we do know they will be able to service three large planes every night,” Bieter says. “And the wages they will pay will serve a family well.”

liz west / Flickr Creative Commons

Property values in Ada and Canyon Counties went up substantially this year. Chances are, if you own a house here you’ve received a letter from the county assessor saying your home is worth more. In Ada County the average increase was 18 percent.

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