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Employment falls slightly in 2010

by David Cole
| December 5, 2010 8:00 PM

Kootenai County's job numbers have slipped this year.

Kathryn Tacke, regional economist for the Idaho Department of Labor, said nonfarm payroll jobs fell 1 percent from 52,936 in 2009 to an estimated 52,353 in 2010, after being virtually unchanged in the prior year.

While the county's manufacturing sector started gaining jobs toward the end of 2010, others didn't do as well.

Leisure and hospitality jobs, including at the Coeur d'Alene Tribe's casino and resort, fell 1.2 percent from 7,942 in 2009, to 7,850 in 2010, Tacke said. The year before, it had fallen 12.4 percent from 9,067.

Though the health care sector didn't add jobs in 2009, it did this year - about 240, for a 3.6 percent increase, Tacke said. Health care is the only sector that grew throughout the recession, adding nearly 770 jobs between November 2007 and last month.

Retail jobs rose an estimated 1.1 percent from 7,655 in 2009, to 7,740 in 2010. The biggest job losses have occurred at building material and garden stores - which tend to thrive when lots of new homes are being built - and the sellers of big ticket items - automotive dealerships, furniture, and appliance stores.

The retail sector added almost 400 jobs this year, from November 2009 through last month. That made up for earlier losses, 1,080 jobs from November 2007 to November 2009.

Retail gains this year were mostly the result of the Walmart store openings, she said. Since those openings were relatively late in the year, they do not affect the 2010 numbers as much as they will affect the 2011 numbers, Tacke said.

Construction employment continued to decline in 2010, dropping from 4,051 to an estimated 3,512. Construction employment peaked at 5,903 in 2007, she said.

She said the recession reversed years of manufacturing job growth in Kootenai County.

Manufacturing fell 13 percent, losing 620 jobs between July 2006 and July 2010. The county did better than the state and nation.

Manufacturing added several dozen jobs this year, rising from 4,045 in November 2009 to 4,117 last month.

"News about manufacturers suggests that Kootenai County is preparing to add significant numbers of manufacturing jobs once the economy fully turns around," Tacke said.

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