Mike Ferguson, Gov. Butch Otter’s chief economist, had some rare good economic news today: In a presentation to the Boise City Club, he said the most recent data suggests Idaho has hit bottom and is ready to begin emerging from the current recession. “What we’ve seen is a pretty abrupt decline, but I think we are now seeing evidence that we have hit the bottom,” Ferguson said. The new data from the U.S. Department of Labor suggests that after being hit much harder than most states by the downturn, Idaho’s employment decline stopped in October. The data, he said, “shows something that’s very heartening to me, and that is that we have very abruptly hit the bottom. … That is substantial.” He added, “It’s not time to pop the corks on the champagne bottles yet, but if we continue to see this decline arrested, I think we’ll be shifting from ‘when are we going to hit the bottom’ to ‘What is the path out of this?’”
Bob Maynard, chief investment officer for the state’s PERSI retirement fund, who spoke after Ferguson, said, “That’s the most optimistic I’ve heard Mike in a couple of years.”
Betsy Z. Russell covers Idaho news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Boise.
P.O. Box 2160, Spokane, WA 99210
Main switchboard: (509) 459-5000 • (800) 338-8801
Newsroom: (509) 459-5400 • (800) 789-0029
Customer service: (800) 338-8801