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Study: Five tribes generated 10K jobs, $850M for Idaho economy in 2009

The five tribes of Idaho spawned more than 10,000 jobs in the state and generated more than $850 million in total sales activity in 2009, a new study has found.

The study, led by University of Idaho research economist Steven Peterson, was commissioned by the tribes – the Kootenai, Coeur d’Alene, Nez Perce, Shoshone-Bannock and Shoshone-Paiute.

The preliminary results were released on April 16. A full report will be released later this spring.

Peterson conducted a similar study in 2002, but the tribes say this is the first of its kind to be conducted with their full participation.

Compared to Idaho’s 44 counties, the five tribal economies would collectively rank 23rd in sales and 17th in payroll activity, according to an executive summary of the study.

An estimated 9,600 members of the five tribes live in Idaho, with the majority living on the 1 million acres of reservation land in the state.

“The study confirms what tribal planners already know – that the tribes are rapidly growing, significant economic engines in the state,” said Peterson, who has conducted regional economic modeling for more than 20 years, in a statement.

The study looked at direct spending, employment and revenues generated by the tribes as well as a multiplier effect.

The most significant contributors to tribal economies include gaming, tribal government, reservation farming and federal programs serving tribes and other tribal businesses.

A few of the key findings:

• The tribes accounted for $487.3 million dollars of the gross state product in 2009, representing nearly 1 percent of the total. That represents the value of the tribes’ direct economic output, not including multiplier effects.
• In 2009, the tribes’ actual spending totaled $655 million.
• Tribal governments, businesses and federal programs directly employed more than 4,000 people, collectively making the tribes one of the state’s top 10 employers. An additional 2,300 jobs were created directly through contracts and related activities. Other jobs are generated through multiplier effects.
• The tribes generated $325.4 million in payroll activity and $23.7 million in sales taxes, property taxes and excise taxes. They also created approximately $7.5 million in state income tax payments, including multiplier effects.
• Approximately 50 percent of visitor traffic at tribal casinos comes from out of state. New tourist traffic is estimated at more than 500,000 people per year.
• Tribal gaming facilities have approximately 3,710 video gaming machines and 317 available hotel rooms. Cumulative gross casino revenue operating expenses was more than $167.8 million for 2009 before costs and operating expenses, with over $617.2 million of gaming revenues being paid out in cash and prizes – for total gross revenue of $785 million.

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