Idaho’s wages are still short of their pre-recession peak, state Department of Labor Director Roger Madsen reported to the Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee this morning, but profits for Idaho businesses have rebounded, passing their pre-recession high in the spring of 2011 and growing by another 8.3 percent last summer. “While slow growth in wages is a concern, the importance of business profits in Idaho’s economy cannot be overlooked,” Madsen told lawmakers. “Over the past decade, business profits have been responsible for an increasing share of the gross state product. Since 2003, business profits have grown from 36.5 percent of gross state product to over 42 percent in 2010. With limited wage growth and profits rising significantly, that shift will likely continue.”
Madsen said overall, “Growth is slow, but is strengthening.”
Nearly all of the Idaho Department of Labor’s funding comes from federal funds; its $302,400 request for state general funds for next year reflects a 30 percent drop, due to the fourth year of the four-year phaseout of state general funds for the Idaho Human Rights Commission. That move cuts the last $140,000 in state funding for the commission, which now operates within the department largely with dedicated or federal funds.