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Lt. Gov. pays a visit to Pocatello for annual economics symposium

Bannock County will see job increase

POCATELLO, Idaho - Bannock County will start to see more jobs popping-up in order to get the state of the county's economy back on track to where it was before the recession hit.

Today Lt. Governor Brad Little spoke on the state of the economy at the 22nd annual economic symposium at the Stephens Performing Arts Center in Pocatello hosted by the Bannock Development Corporation.

Business and economic leaders from across the state discussed the recently rising local job market, which is a shift from earlier this year when the employment rate was on a decline.

"There are a lot of great things happening here," Little said. "We just have to come up with new and better ideas and be more efficient in delivering those services."

Little said job creation in the area is dependent on how Idaho State University trains its students, saying big companies are attracted to communities rich in workforce training.

"There is a great nexus relationship between both K-12 education and then higher education to have a workforce. That attracts businesses to grow or new ones to come in," Little said.

BDC board member Brenda Stanley agreed keeping students local will help boost the job market.

"We want the people who are born and raised in Bannock County to have a reason to stay here and to have those jobs," Stanley said.

ISU professor of economics and symposium speaker Dr. Scott Benson said the job market is, in fact improving, but at such a slow rate the change is barely noticeable. 

"It's very easy to focus on the negative and think, 'oh, we're just heading down a sinkhole,' when in fact, things are improving," Benson said. "Not as quickly as we would like, but things are improving in the Pocatello region."

Benson laid-out the statistics:

In Pocatello during the 2013 fiscal year, the growth of personal income grew from two-percent to three-percent. This is above the state's average which only grew 2.4% this year.

By 2015, Benson estimates that percentage will grow from 4.5% up to 5.5% which will set the employment rate back up to where it was before the recession hit.

Benson also mentioned Idaho is one of the only states whose unemployment rate tripled when the recession hit, compared to the rest of the nation which saw its numbers merely double. 

"Severe recession, slow recovery," Benson said.

Overall, economists at the symposium all agree there is still a push for big businesses to keep moving into the community, which will create a larger increase in a steady stream of jobs opening-up.

For now, they all said we are on the right track.

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