Economic Activity in Idaho

Here is a roundup of economic news compiled by the Idaho Department of Labor in April:

Northern Idaho

    • More than 600 students participated
      Hard Hats, Hammers and Hot Dogs.

      Hard Hats, Hammers and Hot Dogs.

      in this year’s Hard Hats, Hammers and Hot Dogs, a hands-on event sponsored by local businesses, Avista Utilities and the Idaho Department of Labor. Students learn about a variety of careers in trade industries from operating heavy equipment to welding.

    • Spokane-based Seven2 Inc. and 14Four Inc., sister companies that provide digital and Web-based design services, have roughly doubled in employment, growing from 30 to 70 with plans to add 10 more. The companies develop online and mobile application projects for clients such as Disney, Expedia and AT&T.
    • Ground Force, a Post Falls company that manufactures open-pit mining equipment, expects to hire between 100 and 125 new employees. Most of those jobs will be working in the manufacturing plant and some in engineering and administration. In addition to the new 65,000-square-foot plant, CEO Ron Nilson plans to add another 44,000-square-foot factory and an 8,200-square-foot corporate office. The company projects Ground Force’s workforce to top 400 in Post Falls.

  • Silverwood Theme Park held its annual job fair in late March. The park plans to hire and train up to 1,200 seasonal workers this year for jobs ranging from ride operators, lifeguards, food and beverage workers and housekeepers to retail sales and games operators. Silverwood opens weekends in May and daily in June.

North Central Idaho

  • The Clearwater River Casino convinced the Idaho Legislature to approve a liquor license for its new convention center. State law currently restricts retail liquor licenses outside city limits, but there are a number of exceptions including golf courses, ski resorts and equestrian centers. The newly approved exception would allow federally recognized Indian tribes to get a liquor license if they own and operate a convention center and lodging facility on reservation lands that has at least 35,000 square feet of space and 50 rooms. The Nez Perce Tribe owns the Clearwater River Casino just east of Lewiston. It broke ground last year on a $16 million casino expansion including a 400-person event center and space for 200 additional gaming machines. When it opens in June, it will create 25 to 30 new jobs.
  • The National Guard Youth ChalleNGe brings opportunity for job seekers as positions open up at the Pierce school, which is scheduled to welcome its first class in January. The Idaho Department of Labor sponsored a town hall meeting on March 21 at the Pierce Community Center to provide information about the jobs.
  • Several Latah County residents have found jobs with a growing Pullman manufacturer. Decagon Devices designs, manufactures and distributes scientific instruments with about half of its products created for soil and environmental science and half for food moisture. In 2012, it generated $18 million in revenue. It employs 100 full-time and 10 to 20 part-time workers. Last year, it completed construction that doubled the size of its Pullman facility.
  • Lewis-Clark State College set an enrollment record this spring, reaching 4,387 to surpass last spring’s record enrollment of 4,269.

Southwestern Idaho

  • OnTrac is opening a service center in Boise. The regional ground shipping company leased a building next to the Boise Airport and will create more than 30 jobs.
  • Last month it was announced and confirmed that specialty grocer Trader Joe’s will be opening up a store in downtown Boise next year. The store will occupy a 13,200-square-foot building in the heart of downtown.
  • Dutch Bros. will open a second location in Nampa this summer. The drivethrough coffee shop will be located near the Idaho Center and employee 15 people.
  • Primary Health Medical Group opened a second clinic in Nampa last month. The 5,000-square-foot clinic will create around 20 jobs and provide urgent care services, pediatrics and family medicine among other services.

South Central Idaho

  • Watco Companies will bring its regional marketing group to Burley to relocate in a building that was formerly occupied by Genesis Dairy Supply and TSI, a telemarketing company. It was originally built for Valley Wholesale, the parent company of King’s. Watco maintains and operates shortline railroads and plans to hire 30 workers with a payroll of $2.5 million.
  • St. Luke’s Health System released a study by University of Idaho economics professor Steven Pearson, estimating the impact of St. Luke’s Magic Valley Regional Medical Center at $390 million in 2012. The number of direct and indirect jobs created from the new center was estimated at 4,319.

Eastern Idaho

  • The Idaho National Laboratory dedicated
    Energy System LaboratoryHybrid Vehicle battery testing area in the new building recently dedicated at the Idaho National Laboratory Photo: Will Jenson

    Energy System LaboratoryHybrid Vehicle battery testing area in the new building recently dedicated at the Idaho National Laboratory Photo: Will Jenson

    its new Energy Systems Laboratory, where research is being conducted on bioenergy, hybrid-electric vehicle batteries and hybrid energy systems. Construction on the facility started in February 2011.

  • The Madison School District plans to open a professional-technical high school in fall 2014. Students who attend the school will choose one of three tracks: traditional with enrollment in vocational classes, early college where students graduate with an associate degree and career readiness with specialization in health care, technology, energy, welding and fabrication.
  • The Idaho Department of Labor assisted with a job fair as part of the fourth annual Rexburg Business Expo. Six companies at the fair were accepting applications from job seekers. The expo also featured workshops on how to connect with businesses and customers.

Southeastern Idaho

  • The 85-year-old Franklin Medical Center is in the process of getting a $1.8 million remodel. Bids on the project will be accepted this summer. The plan includes an expanded emergency room, additional labor and delivery rooms and an updated main entry area.
  • The Fort Hall reservation is the home to a new three-star hotel and events center, which will likely draw many tourists during the spring and summer.
  • ALCO Stores has donated $25,000 in equipment and supplies to help agricultural education at North Gem High School in Bancroft. School officials said the donation will allow students to have more hands-on educational experiences related to agricultural.

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