The success of an industry and its impact on the economy are often directly proportional to the state-wide investment of money and time in related infrastructure and educational programs.
This is true of Idaho’s aerospace industry, which exemplifies how meaningful investment returns economic growth.
The aerospace industry in Idaho began because the many forests in the region created a need for helicopter repair and power line construction. One of the oldest running aerospace companies in the state, Hillcrest Aircraft Co, is federally approved for helicopter repair and has provided specialty aviation services in Idaho for 60 years.
Idaho’s investment in aerospace begins at the high school level with the funding of Pathways in Technology Early College High School (PTECH). PTECH is a pilot program designed to bridge the gap between education and industry by providing students with the credentials and skills needed to secure high-paying jobs in aviation and aerospace. PTECH helps students develop technical skills—including aerospace and aviation skills—that they may not get in a traditional classroom. Northern Idaho is the epicenter of the state’s aerospace development, and North Idaho College has established an Aerospace Center of Excellence that positions the state to meet future demand for a skilled aerospace workforce. Northern Idaho is home to more than three dozen aerospace companies, and more are arriving in the region every year. Several aerospace businesses have relocated to Idaho from California.
Idaho’s investment in aerospace education pays off in employment. According to the most recent data (2012), the Idaho aerospace industry directly employs 2,200 workers from over 200 companies, including 37 suppliers to Boeing. In 2013, the Idaho Department of Labor conducted a study that found an additional 111 companies that weren’t classified as aerospace companies in the tax code, but that were highly associated with the industry. These numbers enlarge the economic impact of aerospace in Idaho beyond what was originally calculated. The average annual salary in aerospace is $59,927, which is more than $10,000 above the state average.
Compared to programs in other states, Idaho’s aerospace industry is relatively small: it is ranked 46th in the nation according to the Census of Employment and Wages. However, Idaho ranks top among states for the emergence of its aerospace cluster and future growth. Before the recession, Idaho ranked 6th nationally for growth percentage in aerospace employment—up 15.2 percent annually. This industry’s employment is projected to grow 21.5 percent from 2012 to 2022.
Idaho’s emphasis on aerospace positively impacts its present economy and provides great opportunities for future development and expansion. With proximity to forests, airports, and education centers, Idaho is uniquely positioned to play a significant role in the research, development, and testing of aviation-related products. Idaho’s investment in aerospace will continue to bring economic growth to the state.
In March, the CoreLogic® Home Price Index (HPI) for Idaho, which measures home price appreciation, experienced a year-over-year increase of 6.5%. Nationally, the HPI increased 5.9% during the same period.
Idaho’s unemployment rate decreased 0.1 percentage point to 3.8% in March, while the national unemployment rate remained flat at 5.5% in March.
The U.S. Consumer Confidence Index® decreased 6.2 points to 95.2 in April. The Present Situation Index decreased 2.7 points to 106.8, while the Expectations Index decreased 8.5 points to 87.5.
The U.S. Consumer Price Index increased 0.6% from February to March. Year over year, the index decreased 0.1%, which is below the Federal Reserve’s target annual inflation pace of 2%.