Nine years after the Great Recession upended the economy, Idaho faces multiple policy options for encouraging economic growth due to stronger revenues. After five years of shrinking economic performance between 2008 and 2012 our state now produces more in goods and services per Idahoan today than it did before the downturn ($35,000 per capita, compared with about $50,000 for the nation), even taking into account inflation and population growth. At the same time, Idaho is experiencing the lowest unemployment rates on record since 1976. By many measures, our economy is gaining steam.
Other signs, however, suggest that these gains could come with a stronger footprint, and could be more broadly shared across communities. For example, while Idaho’s economy has generally grown, that growth has occurred at a slower rate than the nation as a whole. And while gross domestic product in the first quarter of 2017 remains strong, wages have remained stagnant during the entirety of the recovery.
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