According to data released last month by the U.S. Department of Labor, both the Idaho Falls and Pocatello areas have seen significant increases in the average hourly wage.
In Pocatello, the average wage raise rose from $18.02 an hour in 2013 to $19.44 an hour in 2014. The average wage in Idaho Falls rose from $16.95 in 2013 to $17.33 in 2014.
Dan Cravens, a regional economist for the Idaho Department of Labor, said a reason for Idaho Falls’ lower average wage is that a lot of the higher-paying INL jobs are counted as jobs for Butte County. But Cravens said that wages in eastern Idaho in general are moving in the right direction.
“As more jobs are created, unemployment tightens, so you’ve got a smaller pool of people that are available to be hired, and when that happens, wages tend to go up,” said Cravens.
In the Pocatello area, substitute teachers and waiters were among the lower paid workers making only $8 to $9 per hour.
Doctors, lawyers and pharmacists were among the higher paid, making $50 to $60 an hour.
Some also point to new manufacturing jobs as a reason for the average wage increase.
“Companies like SME Steel and Virginia Transformer, these are steel fabrication type jobs and advanced manufacturing type jobs which pay a higher wage,” said John Regetz, executive director of the Bannock Development Corporation.
Cravens said he expects wage to continue their upward trend.
“That money’s spent in the community and it circulates and it creates more jobs and more opportunities,” said Cravens.
Eastern Idaho is slightly below the national average wage of $22.71.