Boise began as a supply and service center for the mining camps in the nearby mountains. It continues today as an important commercial hub for smaller towns and agricultural establishments in the northern Rockies. In addition to mining, farming and timber have played important roles in the development of the Boise economy.
The present economy has shifted away from its traditional sources towards a more diversified base. State government is one of the city's main employers, since Boise is the capital of Idaho. Boise ranks sixth in the nation for the number of corporate headquarters located in the city (in relation to its population base); corporate headquarters in the city include Albertson's, a supermarket chain; Boise Cascade wood and paper products; Morrison Knudsen, an engineering and construction firm; the J.R. Simplot Company with frozen foods, phosphates, and cattle; Micron Technology, which manufactures semiconductors; TJ International, with specialty building products; and Washington Group International. Several other major companies are headquartered or have major facilities in the area. Tourism is another large source of revenue for the Boise area. High technology industries are becoming an increasingly important sector, and the Army National Guard's Gowen Field also has an economic impact.
Boise State University provides various services for the business community through its Idaho Business and Economic Development Center, Boise Future Foundation, Center for Management Development, Simplot/Micron Instructional Technology Center, Small Business Development Center, and the College of Technology.
The state of Idaho encourages business development through low taxes, reasonable rates, and tax incentives such as job creation and investment credits and tax exemptions.
Several training schools are located in the Boise area.
Boise is working on three major ongoing urban renewal projects. The oldest project, called the Central renewal project, is focused on downtown Boise's core and has resulted in the vibrant downtown Boise visitors and residents see today. Ongoing funding of the Central project is planned for use in additional infrastructure, beautification and public arts projects. The River/Myrtle renewal project, also underway, is located south of downtown Boise. With a focus on attracting high-tech tenants, this urban renewal project is developing a technical infrastructure. The Westside renewal project encompasses 47 acres of downtown Boise. Renewal plans encompass a 25-year span with completion of all projects in 2025. The Westside project will bring multi-use development to downtown, including office, residential, retail, restaurants, entertainment venues, and hotels.
Economic Development Information: Boise Metro Area Economic Development Council (Shirl Boyce), 250 S. 5th St., Suite 800, Boise, ID 83702; telephone (208)472-5230, email firstname.lastname@example.org
A Grant Thornton General Manufacturing Climates study ranked Idaho the best state in the nation for transportation because of its infrastructure and strategic location in the Pacific Northwest. Rail freight carriers serve the Boise metropolitan area via the Union Pacific Railroad. A variety of motor freight lines, air freight, package express companies, and air courier services are also part of Boise's commercial transportation industry.
Boise's skilled work force is educated above the national average and it remains diverse because of a high percentage of immigration. Thirty-three percent of residents have a bachelor's degree or higher; the Boise metro area was ranked the seventh best place to do business in the nation by Forbes magazine in 2004.
The following is a summary of data regarding the Boise-Nampa metropolitan area labor force, 2004 annual averages.
Size of non-agricultural labor force: 241,600
Number of workers employed in . . .
construction and mining: 17,100
trade, transportation and utilities: 45,800
financial services: 12,900
professional and business services: 34,700
educational and health services: 29,700
leisure and hospitality: 21,500
other services: 6,900
Average hourly earnings of production workers employed in manufacturing (statewide): $13.72
Unemployment rate: 4.4% (February 2005)
|Largest private employers||Number of employees|
|Micron Technology, Inc.||9,500|
|St. Luke's Medical Center||4,250|
|Albertson's, Inc. (retail food chain)||3,800|
Boise boasts rates for residential, commercial, and industrial electricity and natural gas that are among the lowest in the country.
The following is a summary of data regarding key cost of living factors for the Boise area.
2004 (4th Quarter) ACCRA Average House Price: Not reported
2004 (4th Quarter) ACCRA Cost of Living Index: Not reported (U.S. average = 100.0)
State income tax rate: Ranges from 2.0% to 8.2%
State sales tax rate: 5.0%
Local income tax rate: None
Local sales tax rate: 5%
Property tax rate: average 1.7% in 2004; ranges from 1 to 2.7%
Economic Information: Idaho Department of Commerce, 700 West State Street, PO Box 83720, Boise, ID 83720-0093; telephone (208)334-2470; toll-free (800)842-5858; fax (208)334-2631. Boise Metro Chamber of Commerce, 250 South 5th Street, Boise, ID 83702; telephone (208)472-5200; fax (208)472-5201; email email@example.com