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Idaho added industrial jobs for a sixth straight year, according to data collected by Manufacturers' News Inc. (MNI). MNI reports Idaho added 2,462 jobs between December 2016 and December 2017, a 3.1 percent increase.
Idaho’s 2,102 manufacturers currently employ 80,832 workers. Manufacturing employment in Idaho has grown at a steady clip over the past six years, adding a total of 8,144 jobs or 11 percent since December 2011. The state’s manufacturing workforce has now surpassed pre-recession levels.
"Idaho maintains one of the most business-friendly environments in the nation, and its food-processing sector has gained remarkable momentum over the past several years," says Tom Dubin, MNI president. "However, the state suffers a persistent skills gap, and global competition continues to be a challenge."
As in previous years, gains in Idaho’s manufacturing sector were led by the food-processing sector, which added jobs at a 5.3 percent rate, helped by the opening of CS Beef Packers in Kuna. Food processing has overtaken industrial machinery as the state’s top sector for factory employment, currently accounting for 16,674 jobs.
The future continues to look bright for the industry, with the new CS Beef Packers site expected to employ 700 people, and Chobani moving forward with an expansion of its yogurt plant in Twin Falls. In addition, the recently established Clif Bar and Hearthside Foods plants continue to add workers, while McCain Foods announced an expansion of its Burley frozen potato-processing facility.
Other additions to the state included the establishment of a Vista Outdoors rimfire plant in Lewiston, as well as the expansions of SmaK Plastics in Coeur d’Alene and Jayco Inc.’s travel-trailer manufacturing plant in Twin Falls.
Employment in industrial machinery inched up one-half percent to 16,283 jobs, while jobs held steady in lumber/wood at 8,875 workers. Additional sectors adding jobs included chemicals, paper products, transportation equipment and fabricated metals. These increases, however, were offset by losses in textiles/apparel and electronics.
Industrial locations announcing closures included Tri Pro Forest Products, which shuttered its lumber mill in Orofin. In addition, Snake River Plains Potatoes’ packing facility was destroyed by a fire in December 2016, costing 60 jobs.
Boise remains the state’s top city for industrial employment, with 22,867 jobs. Employment in second-ranked Nampa grew by 1 percent to 6,091 jobs, and increased 3.8 percent in Idaho Falls to 5,100. Fourth-ranked Lewiston accounts for 4,576 industrial jobs, with no significant change over the year, while employment in fifth-ranked Twin Falls held steady at 3,759.
For more information, visit www.mni.net.