Wages fell by 3.9 percent in Ada County and 1.5 percent across the state in the first quarter of 2016 compared with the same period last year, according to a report Friday from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Wages in Canyon County dropped by two tenths of a point.
However, employment during that time increased 4.2 percent in Ada County, 4.1 percent in Canyon County and 3.5 percent in Idaho.
Bob Uhlenkott, chief of the Idaho Department of Labor’s Research and Analysis Bureau, said the wage drops could be a product of strong growth in 2015 “creating noise” in 2016 data.
Last quarter, goods-producing jobs in Ada County paid a weekly average of $1,118 compared to $785 for service jobs, Uhlenkott said.
Since 2001, goods-producing jobs in Idaho have declined by 3 percent, while service jobs increased 26 percent, Uhlenkott said.
The average weekly wage in Ada County during the first quarter was $839 compared with $627 in Canyon County and $725 across the state. The national weekly wage average was $1,043.
Uhlenkott said the data are preliminary and could change. He said the department will be concerned if the wage decrease turns into a trend.
"We think this is a blip in the data and things will get better, but this is one reason focusing on education and training in Idaho," he said.
Butte County had the state’s highest weekly wage average at $1,555. Boise County was the lowest at $411 per week.
Idaho ranked 39th for wage growth among states and Washington, D.C. during the quarter.