Jobs in Idaho

This section provides information on jobs in Idaho including high demand occupations, employment and population trends.

What jobs or careers are in Idaho?

Population changes in this rugged state are influencing careers and local economies. The baby boomers are aging and the increased need for healthcare services is becoming evident. Registered nurses top the list of high-demand professionals in this decade. In the recent past, employment increases have been in the following fields: Retail Trade, HealthCare & Social Assistance, Administrative & Support Services, and Local Government. The chart below shows the expected increases in high-demand occupations by 2012. (The start of the decade in discussion was 2002.)

high-demand occupations

Occupation % Increase

  • Registered Nurses - 47.86
  • Food Preparation and servers including Fast Food - 31.79
  • Janitors and Cleaners - 29.84
  • Waiters and Waitresses - 26.47
  • Managers - 26.03
  • Retail Salespersons - 21.17
  • Secondary School Teachers - 18.94
  • Cashiers - 16.63
  • Office Clerks - 16.08
  • Laborers and Freight, Stock and Material Movers - 14.09

Exceptions to these projections are maids and housekeepers, special education and vocational education teachers.

Where are the jobs in Idaho?

Urban Idaho refers to the nine counties with a city of at least 20,000 residents. There are 44 counties in Idaho. Government employment continues to be the largest sector statewide. Utilities & Transportation followed this in urban counties for many years. By 2002, the percentages had changed, with Utilities & Transportation comprising only 20 % of the jobs and Government dropped to 17% in urban counties. Education & Health Services became the fastest growing industry at 77%. Agriculture is the only segment that showed a statewide loss. (1%)

Urban counties consistently have lower unemployment rates than the state. The workforce and industries in rural counties are diverse. In rural areas the primary employment opportunities are in the fields of Government, Trade, Utilities, Transportation (21%) and Manufacturing (11%). Mining and Manufacturing were the only industries to report losses during the 10-year period ending in 2005.

Idaho’s unemployment rate set a record low in December, 2005 at 3.4 %. The total number of people working set a record high at 712,700.

What is the employment growth potential in this state?

Clearly the shift in the age groups in Idaho will fuel employment growth in HealthCare and human services. Idahoans 65 and over are creating many new job opportunities in the Health Care sector. This is the major reason behind the significant growth of both public and private HealthCare sectors. HealthCare is expected to be one of the fastest growing industries over the next dozen years. The number of workers over 55 years of age is expected to double by 2010. This will be about 20% of the workforce. Another factor in terms of the changing population is the growth rate of the Hispanic population. In Idaho it is four times that of the non-Hispanic population.

What careers offer stable employment?

HealthCare is a primary sector for stable employment and growth in the next ten years. In the past ten years the major job losses have been in Natural Resource Industries. Other predictably strong industries include Retail Trade and Local Government.

How many people live in this state?

From 1994 to 2004, the population in rural Idaho grew 11%. The statewide population grew by 22%. In rural areas, losses in the Natural Resource Industries slowed growth. Idaho’s population statewide in 2005 is 1,429,096. The average income in 2004 was $27,098. Jobs in the Mining Industry are some of the highest paid in rural Idaho at $39,201 followed by Professional & Business Services at $37,383.

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