Job outlook sunny for Idaho

Aerospace, health care employment expected to grow more than 30 percent

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Gynii Abracosa Gillian, president of Jobs Plus Inc., spoke at the economic development corporation’s annual meeting of members Thursday at the Coeur d’Alene Resort. She said that employment in health care and aerospace will both grow by more than 30 percent.

COEUR d'ALENE - Gynii Abracosa Gilliam, president of Jobs Plus Inc., presented an encouraging outlook during the economic development corporation's annual meeting of members Thursday.

Health-care sector employment in Kootenai County from 2012 to 2022 is poised to jump 38 percent and aerospace employment is projected to soar 34 percent, Gilliam said.

"From all accounts, this region is on the verge of excellent growth in these select industries," she said, which also includes high tech, manufacturing and professional services.

Approximately 300 people attended the annual meeting at The Coeur d'Alene Resort.

The employment growth projections for high tech and manufacturing are both 19 percent.

"The health industry will continue to grow as the baby boomers live longer lives," she said. It will help, too, that Coeur d'Alene continues building a reputation as a great place to retire, she said.

The high tech growth will in part be boosted by Frontier Communications Corp.'s infrastructure investment in high-speed Internet connections, she said.

Employment in professional services is expected to climb 24 percent.

This growth comes off a decade - 2003 to 2014 - in which the county was already in positive territory.

Health care during that period took off, with 60 percent growth, while manufacturing experienced 17 percent growth and high tech saw 8 percent.

Aerospace exploded during that period, with 62 percent growth. Professional, scientific and technical services enjoyed a healthy 24 percent gain.

"We're accomplishing a lot by accident," she said. "Think how much more we'd accomplish if we move together perfectly, actively and strategically."

Lt. Gov. Brad Little, who also spoke at the meeting, had great news about jobs statewide.

"Last month in Idaho, 5,400 people found work," Little said. That was the "largest one-month gain in the history of the state."

There are now 757,000 people in the state's workforce, which also is a record, Little said.

This week, Little noted, the Associated General Contractors of America said Idaho added the highest percentage of new construction jobs in the past year.

It was a year-over-year gain of 14.8 percent, with 4,800 jobs.

The Idaho manufacturing job-growth rate doubles the nation's rate currently, he said.

Education will be key to making sure the state continues to thrive when it comes to jobs.

"So we have to have a workforce that's trained for the circumstances that we're facing going forward," Little said.

The state Legislature this year approved a 7.4 percent public education funding increase.

"At a time when we're only growing the state budget by 4.5 percent, that's really something," Little said. "The education path going forward has got significant velocity."

Lt. Gov. Brad Little discussed the state of Idaho’s economy on Thursday at the Coeur d’Alene Resort during Jobs Plus Inc.’s annual meeting of members.

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