The Idaho Economic Forecast for 2011-2014, generated by the state Division of Financial Management, is cautiously optimistic. The Forecast predicts that personal income should increase modestly, while business and professional services as well as health care and education sectors can expect to see steady growth. However, the Idaho Department of Labor predicts job growth to remain flat.
To spur its economic recovery, Idaho is actively trying to entice Oregon and Washington businesses to the state by offering incentives such as job training programs and tax credits, according to The Register-Guard.
Idaho: A Place to Work and Live
The Idaho Department of Commerce lists the state's key industries as renewable energy, with a history in the field that goes back more than 100 years; technology and innovation; recreational technology; film; and tourism.
Over the last ten years, Idaho residents have migrated from rural to urban areas of the state at a steady pace, according to a Department of Labor press release. Based on 2010 U.S. Census information, Boise, Idaho Falls and Coeur d'Alene populations have increased 21.1 percent since 2000. As a place to live, Idaho offers exceptional natural beauty as well as a reasonable cost of living that is the 12th lowest in the nation, according to the Council for Community and Economic Research's (C2ER) second-quarter, 2011 data.
Higher Education in Idaho
Like many other states, higher education funding in Idaho has been hit in the wake of the economic downturn. However, Idaho is stretching its education dollars through two online initiatives:
- The Idaho Electronic Campus. With links to more than 1,600 undergraduate and graduates courses offered by the seven Idaho publicly-funded postsecondary institutions, IEC "connects learner's needs with education solutions." Admission to a specific college or university is required.
- Independent Study Idaho. Four Idaho colleges and universities collaborated with the Idaho State Board of Education to create ISI. This Idaho online program delivers over 100 online and print-based distance education courses in more than 25 different subject areas. Students are required to coordinate with their college or university before enrolling in a class to ensure credits can be accepted.
Idaho online degree programs through individual colleges and universities or through these two initiatives increases a student's option to take classes offered throughout the state regardless of geography and alleviates on-campus scheduling issues. Adult learners have increased options for professional development while employed and Idaho schools can avoid expensive new development for programs already being offered online.
Careers in Idaho
These three Idaho careers are expected to experience significant growth between 2008 and 2018, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. Idaho mean annual salary figures are from 2010 U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data.
- Dental hygienist: Job growth: 35 percent. Degree requirements: 56.3 percent have an associate degree but an increasing number (30.5 percent) have a bachelor's degree. Salary: $66,270.
- Personal financial advisor: Job growth: 45 percent. Degree requirements: More than half (50.4 percent) have a bachelor's degree; 21.3 percent have a master's degree. Salary: $56,350.
- Computer software applications engineer: Job growth: 45 percent. Degree requirements: 48.7 percent have a bachelor's degree; 29.3 percent have a master's degree. Salary: $70,410.