Economy

Unemployment
12:54 pm
Fri August 16, 2013

Idaho's Jobless Rate Continues To Climb

Job seekers talk with potential employers at a Meridian, Idaho job fair.
Credit Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

Idaho's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate ticked up two-tenths of a percentage point in July to 6.6 percent. The Idaho Labor Department reports this is the third-straight month the jobless rate has increased.

Total employment was down by 800 jobs, falling to 723,100. That's the lowest total employment figure reported since Oct. 2012.

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Micron
1:56 pm
Mon August 12, 2013

Micron To Cut 5 Percent Of Its Global Workforce

Micron's Boise headquarters sits east of the city.
Credit Micron Technology

Officials with Micron Technology Inc. say they are seeking to cut 5 percent of the company's workforce in Idaho and abroad.

The cuts were announced Aug. 7 and come in the wake of Micron's acquisition of a Japanese competitor. The company has about 30,000 employees worldwide — so the rollback could impact 1,500 workers.

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Tourism
6:29 am
Fri August 9, 2013

Idaho Tourism Jobs Are Up, But Not Back To Pre-Recession Levels

Credit Nicholas D. / Flickr Creative Commons

After a sharp decline, Idaho's tourism industry is on the rise. The Department of Labor reports that 851 jobs have been added in the tourism sector since 2010. Restaurants, bars and hotels make up most of those jobs.

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Economy
12:51 pm
Thu August 8, 2013

Burley, Idaho Potato Processor Plans Expansion

Credit Kris Krug / Flickr Creative Commons

Executives with a southern Idaho food processing plant are planning to invest $100 million to expand and add another production line in hopes of keeping pace with increased demand for processed potatoes.

McCain Foods is one of Burley's biggest employers, and the company's announcement Wednesday will create more jobs for the community and provide more opportunities for potato growers.

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Transportation
10:22 am
Mon August 5, 2013

Nez Perce Tribe Opposes Megaloads

The company hired to move two large water purification units through Idaho and Montana en route to an oil sands project in Canada has announced plans to begin moving its first load on Monday night.

The Idaho Transportation Department on Friday issued a permit for Omega Morgan to begin moving the 225-foot-long loads from the Port of Wilma near Clarkston, Wash., and along scenic U.S. Highway 12 in north central Idaho.

ITD advised the company that the U.S. Forest Service has jurisdiction to review the permit.

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Construction
8:13 am
Mon August 5, 2013

Tablets Become More Common At Idaho Construction Sites

Credit Sean MacEntee / Flickr Creative Commons

This fall, Boise State University students taking Casey Cline's class on construction management for the first time will need to bring an iPad or some other tablet-style computer.

Cline says he is imposing this new rule because the devices are becoming ever-more present on job sites for uploading data reports, photos and job specs.

Cline told the Idaho Business Review he simply wants his students better prepared for the real world.

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Transportation
7:00 am
Sat August 3, 2013

Idaho Issues Permit For Latest Megaload Shipment

The Idaho Transportation Department has issued a permit for truck hauling a massive load along scenic U.S. Highway 12 in north central Idaho.

The agency issued the permit Friday to Omega Morgan, a shipper hoping to haul a pair of giant water purification units from Lewiston to an oil project in Canada.

This latest batch of megaload shipments has reignited concerns among environmentalists about large loads moving along the roadway — sections of which pass through a federal wild and scenic river corridor.

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New Hires
4:00 pm
Fri August 2, 2013

New Hires In Idaho Land On A High Note For July

People wait in line at a Idaho Department of Labor job fair earlier this year.
Credit Molly Messick / Boise State Public Radio/ StateImpact Idaho

Idaho employers reported hiring 23,400 workers in July.  That’s the highest number of new monthly hires since the Great Recession started according to the Idaho Department of Labor. 

The monthly report based on employer filings of newly hired workers within 20 days of their hiring showed July’s total exceeded July 2007 by 500.

The report features the number of people hired to fill new jobs as well as existing jobs that are filled because workers retired, died, quit or were fired. ~Idaho Department of Labor

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Agriculture
1:39 pm
Tue July 30, 2013

Grasshoppers Infest Nearly 40 Square Miles Of Central Idaho

Credit Jeffsmallwood / Flickr Creative Commons

Officials with the Idaho Department of Agriculture say a grasshopper infestation is damaging crops and fields in Valley County.

Mike Cooper with the department's Plant Industries division told KTVB that the hot, dry weather is providing perfect conditions for grasshoppers to multiply, and the population has exploded since the Fourth of July.

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StateImpact Idaho
3:58 pm
Wed July 24, 2013

Farewell, StateImpact Idaho

StateImpact Idaho reporters Emilie Ritter Saunders and Molly Messick with news director Sadie Babits.
Credit Becky Lettenberger / NPR

On August 29, 2011 StateImpact Idaho wrote this welcome post, introducing ourselves to the state, and explaining the stories we hoped to tell. Now, just shy of two years later, we’re signing off.

Don’t worry, this site will remain here as an archive, and we hope, as a resource. But it will no longer be updated daily. For continued in-depth coverage of Idaho, please turn to Boise State Public Radio.

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Jobs
4:55 pm
Thu July 18, 2013

Idaho's Jobless Rate Ticks Up For The Second Straight Month

More than 6 percent of Idahoans work more than one job.
Credit Emilie Ritter Saunders / StateImpact Idaho

Idaho’s unemployment rate went up in June. The increase from 6.2 percent in May to 6.4 percent in June, makes it the second month in a row more Idahoans were looking for work.

The two-month uptick follows nearly two years of slow but steady declines in Idaho joblessness. National unemployment for June held steady at 7.6 percent.

Idaho’s increase comes in part because more than 1,400 people started looking for work last month. But it also reflects a slight drop in the total number of people with jobs.

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Agriculture
8:28 am
Thu July 18, 2013

Big Blueberry Crop Sinks Prices For Farmers

Leonard Flores, 27, a forklift operator checks out the just picked fruit at Middleton Farms near Eltopia, Wash.
Credit Anna King / Northwest News Network

North America’s blueberry crop is so substantial this year that farmers say prices are dropping. That’s after about a decade of rapid expansion of new plantings.  The Northwest is one of the top producers of blueberries in the nation and July is the peak of harvest.

Blueberries are some of the most profitable crops in Washington, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. That explains why farms have been planting thousands of acres in the last decade. And the result this year?

“We’re having just record volumes of blueberries," Alan Schreiber says.

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Military
11:32 am
Wed July 17, 2013

Mountain Home F-15s Resume Flights After Budget-Driven Grounding

A squadron of U.S. Air Force F-15 fighters in southern Idaho that had been grounded by federal budget cuts since April is finally resuming flying operations.

The 391st Fighter Squadron at Mountain Home Air Force Base reinvigorated operations Wednesday after the Air Force Council approved a plan to shift millions of dollars.

This means pilots and weapon systems officers stationed at the desert base south of Mountain Home will return to the skies, including nearby training and bombing ranges where jets practice their missions.

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4:59 pm
Tue July 16, 2013

U.S. Silver & Gold Lays Off 126 People From Idaho’s Galena Mine Complex

Lead in text: 
The Shoshone News Press reports more than 30 percent of Galena employees will be affected. During a mandatory meeting in Wallace, Idaho, U.S. Silver and Gold laid off 126 workers.
During a mandatory meeting at the old Wallace High School gymnasium Tuesday morning for the entire staff of the Galena Mine Complex, Steve Long, the senior vice president of U.S. Silver and Gold, announced that the company reduced the mine’s workforce by 126 staff members, effective immediately.
Budget Cuts
5:10 pm
Fri July 12, 2013

400 Civilians Furloughed At Mountain Home Air Force Base

Credit Official U.S. Air Force

Furloughs have begun at Mountain Home Air Force base. Friday is the first day many civilian workers had to stay home after across-the-board budget cuts – known as the sequester – take effect.

Chief Master Sergeant Alex del Valle says the furloughs are already changing base operations. He says the civilian airmen work alongside the military airmen, and their support is essential.

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Housing Market
2:38 pm
Thu July 11, 2013

Home Prices In Idaho Are Up 15 Percent, New Building Permits Above Average

Construction is underway and sold signs are posted at this south east Boise subdivision.
Credit Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

Idaho is one of five states that saw housing prices climb by more than 12 percent from the first quarter of 2012 to the first quarter of 2013.

In Idaho, home prices are up 15.1 percent over the first quarter of last year. But as the State Economic Monitor from the Tax Policy Institute points out, Idaho is among states that saw the sharpest decline in home prices during the recession.

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Cost Of Living
3:32 pm
Wed July 10, 2013

It’s More Expensive To ‘Get By’ In Rural Idaho Than Boise

EPI says it costs $48,720 for a family of three to live in Boise.
Credit ImahinasyonPhotography / Flickr Creative Commons

It costs more to get by in rural Idaho than it does in Boise, the state's population center. That's according to the Economic Policy Institute's family budget calculator.

A family of four living in Boise needs $56,491 per year. A family of four in rural Idaho needs $58,071.

Here's a comparison of what it costs for a family of four, two parents and two children, to live in four different parts of Idaho.

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Transportation
10:50 am
Wed July 10, 2013

Idaho Gas Prices Among Nation's Most Expensive

Credit FutureAtlas.com / Flickr Creative Commons

Idaho motorists are paying some of the nation's highest prices when it comes to filling the gasoline tank.

AAA Idaho says the average price for a gallon of unleaded on Tuesday was $3.75. While that's down about five cents from a month ago, it's well above the national average of $3.48.

Compared to other states, Idaho has the 7th highest prices at the pump.

AAA Idaho Spokesman Dave Carlson says Idaho — like other western states — has not yet seen the summer price decline reported in many other markets.

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Sequestration
11:55 am
Tue July 9, 2013

860 Idaho National Guard Members Face Furloughs

More than 800 Idaho National Guard employees will start taking furlough days mandated by federal budget cuts.

Idaho National Guard spokesman Col. Tim Marsano says about 860 full-time employees will have one unpaid day off each week between now and the end of the federal fiscal year on Sept. 30. Marsano says the federal budget cuts affect 860 military technicians and civilian workers.

The federal budget cuts took effect when Congress failed to reach an agreement on a deficit reduction plan.

Agriculture
10:36 am
Tue July 9, 2013

Idaho Schools To Offer Greek Yogurt As A Meat Substitute

Credit Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

Idaho is one of four states that will participate in a program to offer Greek yogurt as a meat substitute in meals served at public schools.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture on Monday announced it was taking bids through July 22 to supply orders for schools in Idaho, Arizona, New York and Tennessee.

The USDA decided in January to classify Greek yogurt as an accepted meat alternative because of its high protein content. If the pilot program succeeds, Greek yogurt could become a permanent part of the school lunch program nationwide.

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