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Idaho Economists Cover All Their Bases in New Forecast


  • Max Batt, Wikipedia

The Idaho Division of Financial Management is out with its latest economic forecast—73 pages of nearly all optimistic news for the coming four years. 

The forecast points to a slow recovery of employment in Idaho in the wake of the Great Recession, but, according to the analysis, "this slow recovery appears to be over and employment is beginning to expand at a pace that looks less like recovery and more like new growth."

The baseline forecast predicts nonfarm payrolls to increase by 2.7 percent in 2015; 2.3 percent in 2016; and 2.2 percent in 2017, 2018 and 2019. The forecast also indicates "wage and salary growth is expected to accelerate over the next few years," with one major exception: "farm proprietors' income, which is expected to decrease by nearly 40 percent from is record high in 2014."

Deep in the report is an alternative "pessimistic scenario," which portends "panic in the global financial markets leading to a sharp downturn in the U.S. stock market," but adds the probability of the pessimistic scenario coming to pass is 15 percent. The negative forecast suggests a "struggling U.S. economy puts pressure on many portions of the Idaho economy" and the "slack in Idaho's job market puts downward pressure on wage and income growth."

Covering all of its bases, the forecast also includes an overly rosy scenario, also with a 15 percent probability of occurring. The optimistic scenario forecasts nearly 20,000 new Idaho nonfarm jobs by 2019.