Most of the cylinders in Idaho’s economic engine appear to be firing – with virtually all sectors throughout the Gem State showing improvement to varying degrees as a widespread recovery gains traction.
Gynii Gilliam, chief economic development officer for the Idaho Department of Commerce, says her main objective – in addition to recruiting new companies to the state and enhancing existing businesses – is to create jobs for the 60,000 Idahoans still pursuing work.
During a television interview on “Business Dynamics,” a Pocatello cable access program, Gilliam said nine prospective companies employing 10 to 100 people are a definite go for Idaho and should be announcing their plans soon. They entail agriculture, manufacturing and business services.
Another nine projects are engaged in property negotiations across the state, deciding whether to lease or purchase. Twenty other promising companies are each deciding between two locations, including sites outside the state. In June, the Idaho Commerce Department fielded 10 to 14 new leads from prospective employers, Gilliam said.
Gynii Gilliam served as Bannock Development Corporation’s executive director for six years before moving to Boise last January to work for the Idaho Department of Commerce.
Idaho’s unemployment rate is tracking below the national average with the farming and manufacturing sectors running strong. “Across the board, agriculture and food processing are doing very well,” she said, adding state exports now total $6 billion annually or about 10 percent of the Gross State Product with semiconductors dominating.
Gilliam said the future looks bright for Micron Technology, Hewlett-Packard and ON Semiconductor – large electronics employers that play significant roles in Idaho’s economy – because the demand for technology will continue to surge. Smaller partners in the tech sector also will benefit.
“Micron will recover,” she predicted, adding that ON is doing quite well with acquisitions and partnerships. It remains to be seen what impact H-P’s announced reorganization and layoffs will have on its Boise operations.
Gilliam was executive director for Bannock Development Corporation in Pocatello for six years prior to assuming her Commerce responsibilities in Boise last January. Before departing the Gate City, she helped secure Allstate Insurance and ATCO operations for Pocatello.
Allstate employs more than 200 at its Pocatello center with plans to expand its work force to more than 500. (more…)