Although it was not commonly well recorded until the mid-1800s, community theater has long been a part of American history.

Community theaters operate on much smaller budgets than professional theaters and often depend on volunteers. In places where community theater flourishes, volunteers support the performances and are willing to donate their time. 

Although it thrives in some communities and struggles in others, community theater plays a very important role in Idaho. One example of a successful community theater is the Boise Little Theater, which began continuous productions in 1948. After being destroyed by fire in 1957, the theater was rebuilt. It is one of the oldest all-volunteer community theaters in the nation. Another example is the Palace Playhouse in Pocatello, formerly known as the Mystique Theater. Palace Playhouse is finishing up its first season under new management by John and Trudy Bidwell, who previously owned the Playmill Theatre in West Yellowstone.

All successful community theaters rely on one common element: people. Volunteers spend time to run the theaters; residents act in the plays, sometimes without being paid; and patrons purchase tickets to watch the performances put on by their neighbors. Even without large-scale economic return, local theater and art performances are strong threads that bind the community together.

U.S. Consumer Price Index. The national Consumer Price Index decreased 0.2 percent from on a non-seasonally adjusted basis and has grown 0.8 percent over the last year. The Federal Reserve’s target inflation rate is 2 percent, so inflation is a little lower than ideal.

The two most volatile price categories are energy and food. While the index for food remained unchanged, the index for energy declined by 1.6 percent, which drove the decline in the index overall. The energy index decline was mainly influenced by a sharp decrease in the gasoline index. The index for all items excluding food and energy rose 0.1 percent—its smallest margin since March.

Other indexes that registered overall price increases include: food at home by 0.2 percent, housing by 0.3 percent, utilities by 0.8 percent, medical care by 0.4 percent, and other goods and services by 0.1 percent. Food away from home, clothing, transportation, recreation, and education and communication all declined in price in July. The price of Brent Crude Oil, the international benchmark for oil prices, decreased nearly 20 percent in the month of July before recovering slightly in early August.

U.S. Consumer Confidence Index. The U.S. Consumer Confidence Index® (CCI) increased from 96.7 in July to 101.1 in August, indicating that Americans are confident in the current strength of the U.S. economy. The Present Situation Index, the sub-index of the CCI that measures how consumers feel about current economic conditions, increased from 118.8 in July to 123.0 in August. Likewise, the Expectations Index, the sub-index that measures how Americans feel about where the economy is headed over the next six months, increased from 82.0 to 86.4.

Consumers’ opinions of current conditions contributed to the overall increase. Those stating that business conditions are “good” increased from 27.3 to 30.0 percent. Similarly, those claiming that jobs are “more plentiful” increased from 23.0 to 26.0 percent. However, those who think jobs are “hard to get” also rose, going from 22.1 percent in July to 23.4 percent in August.

Optimism for the next six months increased in August as more consumers expected business conditions to improve in the short term. Consumers also believe the labor market outlook is more favorable: those expecting more jobs in the months ahead rose from 13.5 percent in July to 14.2 percent in August. Consumers expecting their incomes to increase rose from 17.1 percent in July to 18.8 percent in August.