Who says there’s not a time-tested recipe for economic growth? Try mixing a friendly business environment with some strategic economic planning and let it simmer for a few years.
The Idaho Falls area is proof that this recipe brings success. Regional Economic Development for East Idaho, or REDI, is a proactive organization that facilitates economic development for local businesses and communities, working to increase the standard of living for the citizens of Greater Idaho Falls, Ammon, and Bonneville County. With the goal of expanding the tax base, REDI focuses on the creation and retention of primary jobs, payment of above-average wages, and significant capital investments. This strategic planning has cultivated strong employment opportunities, population growth, and business expansion in the Idaho Falls area.
Grow Idaho Falls nurtures local businesses—large and small—that create and retain jobs. Nearly three-quarters of the almost 20,000 business establishments in Idaho Falls employ fewer than 10 people, which indicates a high level of entrepreneurship and small business participation. Another 4,152 businesses employ between 10 and 50 people. Fewer than 100 businesses have more than 250 employees. Headquartered in Idaho Falls, Melaleuca Wellness Company boosts the state economy as its local manufacturing plant serves several thousand employees worldwide.
Although local business is booming, annual household income in Idaho Falls sits slightly below the national average. According to REDI, household income averages $46,291, and family median income averages $55,462. Income will climb with business growth, especially in the larger industries. Currently, the largest industry is management, business, and finance, which employs 12.14 percent of the workforce in Idaho Falls. The engineering, computers, and science industry comes in second, employing 6.43 percent of the workforce.
The past five years have seen $2.54 billion in capital investments in the area, creating over 2,581 jobs. REDI notes four target industries that account for over $1.7 billion of total economic output and nearly half of local jobs: 1) tourism and gateway community services, 2) energy and high technology, 3) agribusiness and food industries, and 4) medical technologies and services. Within the energy and high technology industry, one major player is the Idaho National Laboratory (INL), which supports deep space exploration and national energy security. The top employer in Idaho Falls, INL employs approximately 7,500 people. As these target industries continue to make capital investments, Idaho Falls and surrounding areas will build their tax base and offer a higher standard of living for residents.
Since people flock to areas where business opportunities are prevalent, population growth is a major indicator of the health of a region. Idaho Falls is the fourth-largest city in Idaho and experienced average population growth of 26 percent from 2001 to 2010. The entrepreneurial spirit and friendly business environment of Idaho Falls will continue to attract people and companies to the area, thereby improving the economy. As ongoing strategic planning boosts local economies in Idaho, the entire state benefits.
Idaho Housing Market
In June, the CoreLogic® Home Price Index (HPI) for Idaho, which measures home price appreciation, experienced a year-over-year increase of 4.2%. Nationally, the HPI increased 6.5% during the same period.
Idaho Job Report
Idaho’s unemployment rate increased 0.1 point to 4.0% in June, while the national unemployment rate decreased 0.2 point to 5.3% in June.
U.S. Consumer Confidence
The U.S. Consumer Confidence Index® decreased 8.9 points to 90.9 in July. The Present Situation Index decreased 2.9 points to 107.4, while the Expectations Index decreased 12.9 points to 79.9.
The U.S. Consumer Price Index increased 0.4% from May to June. Year over year, the index increased 0.1%, which is below the Federal Reserve’s target annual inflation pace of 2%.