Resource industries—food processing, chemical manufacturing, and lumber production—form the backbone of manufacturing in Idaho. Value added by manufacture increased from $1.4 billion in 1977 to $16 billion in 1995. In 1997, the value of shipments by major industries was $18 billion, reflecting the 6th-fastest growth rate in the previous five years for the nation (66.5%).

Nonelectrical machinery increased by over 500% in value added between 1977 and 1983; during this period, many northern California computer companies, including Hewlett Packard, opened or expanded plants in Idaho. Other major manufacturers of electronic equipment include Micron Technology (Boise), Advanced Input Devices (Coeur d'Alene), Gould Electronics (Pocatello), and Zilog (Nampa).

Ore-Ida Foods is a leading potato processor, and J. R. Simplot engages in food processing and fertilizer production. Boise Cascade (with headquarters at Boise), Potlatch, and Louisiana-Pacific dominate the wood-products industry. Morrison-Knudsen, a diversified engineering and construction company that also has forest-products interests, has its headquarters in Boise.

Earnings of persons employed in Idaho increased from $17.7 billion in 1997 to $18.9 billion in 1998, an increase of 7.1%. The largest industries in 1998 were services, 22.9% of earnings; durable goods manufacturing, 12.2%; and state and local government, 12.1%. Of the industries that accounted for at least 5% of earnings in 1998, the slowest growing from 1997 to 1998 was durable goods manufacturing, which increased 4.0%; the fastest was services, which increased 8.1%.