Author Archives: Idaho Department of Labor

About Idaho Department of Labor

Our goal is to be Idaho’s first choice for employment services. We connect job seekers with Idaho employers, deliver employment services to Idaho businesses and support people during career and life transitions.

Recent College Grads Face Challenges in Recession Aftermath

New college graduates faced a tough job market during the recession, but since 2010 the market has improved slightly every year. Early indications suggest that 2014 saw more significant improvements in Idaho and the nation.

Based on U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data, the unemployment rate for 20- to 29-year-olds with bachelor’s degrees but nothing higher peaked in 2009 at 17.6 percent, nearly double the 9 percent in 2007. The rate declined to 14.9 percent in 2010, dropped to 13.5 percent in 2011 and then fell to 8.8 percent in 2013.

Recent college grads faced a labor market full of degree holders laid off during the severe recession. The number of people turning 18 peaked in 2009, while the portion of young adults in the United States who completed a four-year college degree hit a record high in 2012. A full third of 25-to-29-year-olds now hold degrees. The rate of young adults earning a bachelor’s degree rose from 28 percent in 2006 to 33 percent in 2013. The increase partly reflects a long-term trend. In 1971, only 17 percent of young adults had four-year degrees. That intensified as the recession nixed job opportunities, spurring college enrollment. Idaho also saw record numbers of students graduating from college in recent years.

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Workforce Consultant Uses Radio Show to Reach Out to Spanish-Speaking Job Seekers


One Idaho Department of Labor employee has partnered with radio station KBWE, Radio Voz Latina, to connect with thousands of Spanish-speaking Mini-Cassia residents on workforce issues and employment trends.

Chet Jeppesen, a bilingual workforce consultant from the Burley office, covers a variety of topics at 9 a.m. every Friday. The show was originally planned for 15 minutes but it proved so informative, it was increased to an hour.

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Idaho Wages Leanest for Young Workers

Wages grow with age, but there is a point of diminishing return where retirement may be a better alternative to continuing to work with scant hope for increasingly higher pay. In Idaho for example, cost of living adjustments yielded greater increases for retirees than state workers experienced on their paychecks during the Great Recession.

This depends on the industry, however. There are a number with older leadership and workforce such as utilities, education and agriculture. The mid-life years of 45 to 54 are the peak wage-earning time.

Average Monthly Wage

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How Idaho License Plates Benefit At-Risk Youth

Did you know you can help Idaho’s young people stay out of trouble by simply buying a license plate?

In 2000 Idaho became the first state in the nation to create America’s Promise Youth license plates.

License plate sales support Idaho’s at-risk youth by funding activities outside of school hours. The program’s goal is to reduce drug and alcohol use, gang activity and school dropout rates among Idaho’s school-age children.

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Website Downtime: What Unemployment Claimants, Job Seekers Need to Know

Several Idaho Department of Labor Internet applications will be temporarily unavailable starting at 5 p.m. MDT Thursday, Sept. 11, until 7 a.m. MDT Monday, Sept. 15.

The temporary shutdown is necessary for the rollout of several internal computer system enhancements and is scheduled to have a minimal impact on unemployment insurance claimants and businesses.

I normally file my weekly report every Sunday. When should I file my weekly report during the temporary shutdown?

Our system will be available at 7 a.m. MDT Monday Sept. 15. Provided you file your weekly report on Monday, you should not see a delay in your payment for the week ending Sept. 13.

I waited too long to file my weekly report for the week ending Sept. 6. Am I unable to file my weekly report for that week?

Please contact one of our staff members at (208) 332-8942.

Since I am unable to use your website after 5 p.m. MDT Thursday, Sept. 11 to look for work, do I still have to look for work during the week ending Sept. 13?

Although the main Idaho Works job search engine will be unavailable during this planned outage, our expectation is you will still look for work for the week ending Sept. 13. You may use other work search sites, apply online with employers or contact employers in person or by email.

If you have questions, please contact us at (208) 332-8942.

Will your local offices be open on Friday, Sept. 12?

Yes. Veteran services, Workforce Investment Act (WIA) and Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) applicant and participant activities will not be affected. Information on registration files, employer records, job listings, referrals and our lobby computers will be unavailable.

If you have questions, please contact your nearest local office. Learn more about the maintenance shutdown schedule here.

Think Big Festival Brings Robotics to Idaho

Nick Smoot and Ryan Arnold wanted to create a hub for robotics startup companies in Coeur d’Alene. This would be done through a collaboration of entrepreneurs, businesses and community leaders to create Innovation Collective. What transpired was beyond their wildest dreams.

A robot from the University of Idaho on display.

A robot from the University of Idaho on display.

On Aug. 15 the first Think Big Festival brought 250 attendees to North Idaho College to hear from experts in the field of robotics. Smoot and Arnold were able to bring in Yoshikazu Kanamiya, a 35-year robotics professor from Japan. Kanamiya has worked extensively on medical robotics to help the elderly. Smoot said he wanted to bring Kanamiya back again during his upcoming sabbatical to advance medical rehab and robotics. Representatives from Kootenai Health, University of Idaho and Jobs Plus have also joined with Innovation Collective to work together and move medical robotics forward.

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August Economic Activity Around Idaho

Northern Idaho
North Central Idaho
Southwestern Idaho
South Central Idaho
Southeastern & Eastern Idaho


  • An $88,000 state Agriculture Department grant will allow the Idaho Wine Commission to  expand its marketing and outreach efforts in the coming year. The commission will provide $40,000 in matching funds toward the goal of increasing demand for Idaho wine and improving in-state market share while exposing consumers in other states to Idaho wine. Nearly 180,000 gallons of Idaho wine were sold in the state in 2013. The commission wants to reach 200,000 gallons in 2015 by overcoming a perception that Idaho makes sub-par wine. The commission will develop creative advertising for specific outlets and a public relations campaign for the state’s two pending American Viticultural Area designations.
  • Liquor licenses issued by the state for $750 were resold for more than $300,000 in just two years. State law grants each municipality two liquor licenses or one license for every 1,500 residents, whichever is greater. Some Idaho business owners say they believe state laws limiting the number of liquor licenses stunt local economic growth and drive up the price for existing licenses to exorbitant levels. Idaho Falls businessman Eric Isom says the lack of licenses deters national restaurant chains. Senate Majority Leader Bart Davis says while the current regulation causes problems, there is not enough support to change the law.
  • The Idaho Department of Transportation temporarily suspended bidding for future road projects in mid-May in anticipation of a possible disruption in federal funding but Congress approved and President Obama signed a stop-gap $10.8 billion injection of cash into the Highway Trust Fund, which finances 55 percent of Idaho’s $571.4 million annual roads budget. Congress has until next May to agree on a longer-term solution for highway funding.

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