That's the median annual wage in Idaho. But this morning's Idaho Falls Post Register reports that the Idaho Department of Labor estimates a family of four needs $39,000 a year to sustain itself, and only about a third of the jobs in the Gem State paid that much last year. And things are getting worse, only about 13.3 percent of Idaho jobs could support a family four in 2012, according to the Labor Department. In 2006, nearly half of the Idaho jobs could support a family of four, according to the statistics.
Labor Department spokesman Bob Fick told the Post Register that Idaho ranks last in overall earnings by full- and part-time job holders. Fick points to higher job growth in low-wage employment in Idaho's service sector, as opposed to lower growth in manufacturing, mining or logging industries, which traditionally pay more. The Post Register reports that Idaho has seen a net gain of 10,000 production jobs in the past two decades while the service sector grew by 210,000 jobs.