Regional Information

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Northern Region

Unemployment: 3.7% December 2019


The increasingly diverse economic base and lifestyle of the northern Idaho region have attracted thousands of new residents in recent years, making it Idaho’s second most populous region. The largest city, Coeur d’Alene, is just 33 miles from Spokane, Wash., where many Panhandle residents work.

Industries playing major economic roles include lumber, a variety of manufacturing, mining, tourism, retail, agriculture, call centers and the Coeur d’Alene and Kootenai tribes. North Idaho College and the satellite campuses of University of Idaho, Lewis-Clark State College and Boise State University are a key component of providing a highly skilled and trained workforce.

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North Central Region

Unemployment: 3.3% December 2019


North Central Idaho’s economy traditionally relied on forest products and agricultural products, especially wheat and cattle. Its fast-growing manufacturing sector includes ammunition, gun, jet boat, and equipment makers, as well as lumber and paper mills.

The University of Idaho, Nez Perce Tribe, Forest Service, Lewis-Clark State College, and fish hatcheries are among the largest employers in the region.

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Southwestern Region

Unemployment: 2.7% December 2019


Southwestern Idaho is Idaho’s largest region, maintaining just under half of Idaho’s population and labor force. The Boise metropolitan area is Idaho’s largest metropolitan area with a labor force of roughly 310,000.

The major economic drivers in the region include semiconductor and other computer product manufacturing, food product manufacturing, administrative and business support services and construction. The largest industries by employment are food and drinking establishments, administrative and business support services, and healthcare.

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South Central Region

Unemployment: 2.6% December 2019


Food Processing Industry in Idaho


Major industries in the region include food processing, metal, plastics and box manufacturing, tourism, retail, and myriad agricultural and agricultural support enterprises. The regional population grew 12.8 percent from 2003 to 2013, an increase of 21,501 to 188,860. The largest county is Twin Falls, which grew at 19.2 percent to 79,957, comprising 60 percent of the regional growth over this time period.

The College of Southern Idaho is a key to workforce development and provides access to education in most all counties within the region. It custom designs reasonably-priced training programs based on projected needs of area employers and students.

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Southeastern Region

Unemployment: 2.5% December 2019


Southeastern Idaho's economy includes agriculture, high-tech manufacturing, energy, services and trade. Pocatello is southeastern Idaho’s largest city and home to Idaho State University, a major research university and partner in workforce development, basic research and cultural opportunities.

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Eastern Region

Unemployment: 2.3% December 2019


Eastern Idaho’s diverse economy combined with an anchor like the Idaho National Laboratory keeps the region from experiencing volatility. The INL has one of the largest concentrations of technical professionals in the nation’s Rocky Mountain region and is one of the state’s largest employers.

Easy access to postsecondary education through Eastern Idaho Technical College and branches of the University of Idaho and Idaho State University in Idaho Falls and Brigham Young University-Idaho in Rexburg, has created a highly educated population.