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Some good news found in state employment picture

Brad Carlson

Brad Carlson

The recently released Idaho Employment newsletter for February, produced by the Idaho Department of Labor, opens with a not-so-positive recap of job and wage losses during the year ended June 30 of ’09, but some positive news can be found.

Some sectors added jobs, and there are signs that work hours are starting to increase even though staff headcounts aren’t necessarily on the rise.

Health care added jobs. Physical, engineering and life sciences research and development added jobs in eastern Idaho, “where dozens of new companies took advantage of the positive atmosphere created in that sector by activity at the Idaho National Laboratory,” the report said.

Also adding employment were public and private education, the production sector, government (all levels) and southern Idaho’s dairy industry – despite pricing pressure. In north central Idaho, a number of manufacturers are increasing work hours, and some temporary employment agencies report an increase in orders recently.

The Idaho job news was bad overall for the year ended June 30. Employers in 60 percent of Idaho’s 307 specific industry sub-sectors reported told the department that they cut nearly 27,000 jobs combined from the previous year’s average, reducing payrolls by 12 percent, the report’s introductory page says.

Over the same period, employers in 74 of those same sub-sectors – joined by employers in 41 other sub-sectors that had avoided net job reductions – cut pay for remaining workers by 3.8 percent on average by reducing wages or hours, the report says. Raises and payroll expansion in some sectors, notably health care and education, helped to reduce the year-over-year drop in total wages to 3.4 percent. But job losses peaked two months later, state labor officials noted.

Construction was hit hardest, especially in segments directly involved in home building. Real estate, mortgage and credit sectors also saw significant losses due to the housing market’s fall. Durable manufacturing employers essentially held the line on wages and hours but cut jobs during the one-year period, the Idaho Department of Labor said.

Losses of manufacturing jobs were seen in high technology, wood products mills and in trailer production. Many other sectors also shed jobs.

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  2. good news indeed :D