Don’t Overlook the Importance of Mock Interviews

mock interview

Idaho Department of Labor workforce consultants serve as career coaches for a job seeker during a mock interview.

They say a great resume will help you get your foot in the door, but it’s how well you handle the interview which determines if you actually get offered the job.

Beth Larson and Katie Taylor, workforce consultants in the Idaho Department of Labor’s Pocatello office, often recommend and perform mock interviews for job seekers. “If you’ve gone on more than four job interviews but have not received a job offer, you may need to ask for help in the form of a mock interview,” Larson said. Larson and Taylor shared the top reasons any job seeker will benefit from a mock interview:

It will help reduce your stress about an important interview.

An important job interview can be very stressful and it is exactly this type of situation which makes most people nervous and more likely to blow it. A little practice with a job coach can make all the difference. Larson and Taylor have helped to coach students who have little to no experience in the job market and need help learning how to handle an interview as well as job seekers who have not been on an interview in a few years. “There are always things we can improve upon when it comes to making a great first impression with a prospective employer,” Taylor said.

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Demographics Contribute to Idaho’s Digital Divide

The term “digital divide” was popularized in the late 1990s and described a growing gap between those individuals with access to the internet and other information and communications technology, and those without. Since then, concerted effort has been made to provide physical access to close this gap.

Today, most households, workplaces and classroom computers are internet enabled. Data from 2015 showed that more than 80 percent of Idaho’s civilian population ages 3 and up used the internet, more than double the rate in 1998. Digital technology has evolved rapidly to incorporate a wide range of uses from emailing to blogging to online and blended learning in classrooms. Digital hardware and software are constantly in flux with the more recent shift to mobile devices and cloud storage.

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Declining Rental Vacancies Put Pressure on Eastern Idaho

While demand for rental units in eastern Idaho has steadily increased since the 2008 recession, supply has not kept pace.

Leading into 2008, rental vacancies were at an all-time high peaking at roughly 10.5 percent across the nation (Figure 1). Although more vacancies frustrate landlords who are unable to fill rentals, it creates a preferable – or buyer’s – market for consumers. Before the recession there were abundant rental options, competitive prices and space for populations to expand.

Whenever the economy takes an economic downturn, especially a severe instance like 2008, there is a stagnation in construction. Rental property construction took a huge hit during this time and almost stopped completely. At the same time many people were losing their homes and being forced into rental units. Within the first few months of 2008, rental units became a hot commodity and, as shown in Figure 1, rental vacancies drastically declined.

The U.S. economy began to recover a couple years post-recession; however, rental housing construction took several additional years to begin recovering. And now, even as the economy is recuperating, those people who would have naturally moved out of rentals and into homes did not. These renters were prevented from purchasing homes for a variety of reasons, such as tougher lending standards, decreased household formation, reduced incomes, unemployment and job insecurities mostly brought about by the recession.

As the economy has recovered, most of the barriers to home buying that were present early on after the recession have been overcome. Lending standards and job insecurities have relaxed while unemployment has dropped and incomes are upward bound. However, availability of rental housing is still low. In 2016, the United States rental vacancy rate was 6.8 percent – still down almost 4 percent from pre-recession rates – and the West has the lowest vacancy rate in the nation at 4.4 percent (Figure 2).

The eastern Idaho population has grown by almost 15,000 since 2008 yet there have been few additional rental properties built in the region. Supply of rental units has stagnated, but demand for these units has grown exponentially. According to economic theory, as demand increases for a product without a change in supply, the price for the product increase. This theory is unfolding in the region today.

A survey taken of 10 apartment complexes representing more than 4,000 units in the Idaho Falls / Ammon area showed that all increased rental rates at least once in the last year with some increasing rates three or four times. This survey also exposed the high demand for new rental options, but only one complex was expanding and had rented nearly 77 percent of the units before construction was completed.

As demand continues to outweigh supply, prices will continue to rise. The side effects are evident as higher rental cost is eating into savings meant for down payments on homes, thus residents are staying in rental units longer than anticipated. Spending more money on rent also means residents have less disposable income to spend in their local economy. If the supply does not quickly catch up to eastern Idaho’s high rental demand, this rising rental price trend will continue.

As eastern Idaho continues to market toward expanding its population and retaining its natives, potential renters will hit a bottleneck and in-migration due to relocation may be dissuaded if the rental supply does not increase. If the goal is to obtain more consumers and increased workforce in the region, consumers require greater rental supply and competitive pricing. Having these amenities will only help to attract a talent pool to eastern Idaho.

Hope.Morrow@labor.idaho.gov, regional economist
Idaho Department of Labor
(208) 525-7268 ext. 4340

Workforce Development Training Funds Makes a Difference in the Lives of Those at Idaho Youth ChalleNGe Academy

Idaho Youth ChalleNGe Academy cadets

Graduating cadets can continue their education or use the certificates they earned to go immediately into the workforce with their in-demand skills. (Photo courtesy of Idaho Youth ChalleNGe Academy)

A year ago the Idaho Youth ChalleNGe Academy in Pierce wanted to enhance its technical training and career readiness programs but lacked the funding to do so. The $25,000 Workforce Development Training Fund micro-grant it received from the Idaho Department of Labor has helped make these plans a reality for the one year duration of the grant.

A dozen or so local organizations have also jumped in and donated their time, materials and expertise to help the academy improve the training offered to the at-risk teens who attend the academy from throughout the state.  In-kind donations from partnering organizations amounted to more than $36,000 of goods and services. Local organizations have donated supplies such as scrap metal and building supplies used in the metal fabrication and construction courses as well as donating their time which includes instruction hours or general job skills training like mock-interviews.

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Around Idaho: March 2017 Economic Activity

Information provided in this article is from professional sources, news releases, weekly and daily newspapers, television and other media.

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

NORTHERN IDAHO – Benewah, Bonner, Boundary, Kootenai & Shoshone counties

Boundary County

  • A large mudslide derailed a Union Pacific train near Moyie Springs on March 15. No injuries were reported, though 12 railroad cars loaded with grain were involved in the derailment. Due to the steep terrain in the area, it was not immediately possible to bring in equipment to move the derailed cars. Multiple mudslides and floods have been reported since then, leading to a state of emergency declared by Boundary County and the city of Bonners Ferry. Source: Bonner County Daily Bee

Kootenai County

  • The city of Post Falls will use an Idaho Transportation Department grant to improve pedestrian pathways and trails and construct new pathways in the city center.
  • Kootenai County declared a state of emergency on March 16 in response to extensive flooding caused by heavy rain and melting snow pack. Areas affected by flooding include Cataldo, Fernan Lake Village, Hayden and Rathdrum.
  • School levies around Kootenai County were successful in March. Plummer-Worley, Post Falls, Coeur d’Alene and Lakeland school districts all passed their respective levies.

Source for all: Coeur d’Alene Press Continue reading

‘Routine’ Jobs More Susceptible to Automation

 

Automation and how technology will change the way we work is an overarching theme in economic analysis today. Computing power has made workers more effective and efficient in a variety of industries, and in some settings human workers have been replaced altogether.

Manufacturing is a prime example. Products assembled by long lines of robotic equipment are a visible reminder of how technology has changed the way Americans work. Since 2000, American industrial output – defined as the total value of the country’s factories, mines and power plants – has grown by just over 10 percent, adjusted for inflation. In that same period, total employment – the number of working hours required to create that output – has shrunk by 29 percent. Technology has made American industry more efficient than ever, and factories are getting increasingly more production out of a shrinking workforce.

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Idaho’s ‘Micro’ Counties Face Labor Force, Jobs Challenges

Idaho’s “micro” counties, rural counties that have no town with a population greater than 5,000 within their borders, have experienced significant differences in economic growth and development from the state’s urban counties as well as other, larger rural counties.

Rural issues have received significant attention in Idaho. In addition to research conducted within the Idaho Department of Labor, both the Governor’s Office and the Department of Commerce have discussed specific initiatives aimed at fostering economic growth in rural Idaho.

Department of Labor analysts define “rural” as all counties that do not contain an urban center, as noted in previous articles. This definition doesn’t recognize some of the differences in non-urban counties by assuming any county without an urban center is “rural.”  Further narrowing the definition to “micro” counties for the purposes of this analysis avoids this issue by identifying Idaho’s smallest communities and defining their counties as rural.

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