Top Jobs in Idaho for 2012

See our other posts on the top jobs in various states.

Overview

For this post, we’re going to identify the best jobs in Idaho for 2012, which means we’ll be looking at the jobs that pay the most, have grown the most since 2007 (when our economic troubles began), and are the most concentrated. Our observations are based solely on labor market data analysis from EMSI’s 2011.4 Complete Employment release, which is drawn from more than 80 state and federal data sources and includes workers not covered by unemployment insurance (e.g., self-employed workers).

An important note: Our most recent years of proprietor data (2010, 2011) are still estimates because of the lag time in Bureau of Economic Analysis releases. Thus, any numbers that have to do with 2010 and 2011 are approximate.

So first, the big picture. Jobs in Idaho have declined 5% since 2007, dropping from over 922,000 to an estimated 875,000 — a loss of about 48,000 jobs. For a state with a relatively low population, this is a lot, so finding the best jobs might be something of a challenge. (See this post for more on Idaho’s relatively poor performance since 2007.) Unemployment stands at just over 66,000 in a population of nearly 1.6 million. The average earnings for an Idaho employee is $40K a year. In 2010, there were 18,000 completions in higher ed programs.

Highest-Paying

Table 1 shows all the jobs that earn more than $40 per hour (2011 median hourly wage). Six of the top ten are healthcare-related: physicians & surgeons ($77.84), dentists, general ($68.03), orthodontists ($56.27), oral & maxillofacial surgeons ($56.01), pharmacists ($47.62), and dentists, all other specialists ($45.47). The highest-paying non-healthcare jobs are chemical engineers ($52.10), engineering managers ($49.28), physicists ($48.48), and nuclear engineers ($47.91).

Some helpful definitions:

Oral & maxillofacial surgeons perform surgery on mouth, jaws, and related head and neck structure to execute difficult and multiple extractions of teeth, to remove tumors and other abnormal growths, to correct abnormal jaw relations by mandibular or maxillary revision, to prepare mouth for insertion of dental prosthesis, or to treat fractured jaws.

Engineering managers plan, direct, or coordinate activities in such fields as architecture and engineering or research and development in these fields.

SOC Code Description 2002 Jobs 2012 Jobs Change % Change 2002 National LQ 2012 National LQ 2011 Median Hourly Wage 2011 Avg Hourly Wage Education Level
Source: EMSI Complete Employment – 2011.4
29-1069 Physicians and surgeons 2,268 2,717 449 20% 0.65 0.63 $77.84 $82.43 First professional degree
29-1021 Dentists, general 683 868 185 27% 1.23 1.28 $68.03 $69.22 First professional degree
29-1023 Orthodontists 23 31 8 35% 0.66 0.72 $56.27 $66.55 First professional degree
29-1022 Oral and maxillofacial surgeons 19 26 7 37% 0.57 0.62 $56.01 $66.01 First professional degree
17-2041 Chemical engineers 56 81 25 45% 0.37 0.54 $52.10 $51.90 Bachelor’s degree
11-9041 Engineering managers 1,121 1,067 (54) (5%) 1.23 1.18 $49.28 $53.67 Degree plus work experience
19-2012 Physicists 71 82 11 15% 1.06 1.03 $48.48 $52.62 Doctoral degree
17-2161 Nuclear engineers 169 286 117 69% 1.82 2.57 $47.91 $50.13 Bachelor’s degree
29-1051 Pharmacists 1,025 1,333 308 30% 0.88 0.97 $47.62 $46.35 First professional degree
29-1029 Dentists, all other specialists 21 27 6 29% 0.68 0.69 $45.47 $53.33 First professional degree
17-2061 Computer hardware engineers 930 620 (310) (33%) 2.56 1.79 $44.57 $45.39 Bachelor’s degree
23-1023 Judges, magistrate judges, and magistrates 170 160 (10) (6%) 1.34 1.26 $43.18 $54.77 Degree plus work experience
17-2111 Health and safety engineers, except mining safety engineers and inspectors 86 111 25 29% 0.72 0.88 $41.59 $42.64 Bachelor’s degree
11-9121 Natural sciences managers 533 495 (38) (7%) 2.66 2.02 $40.56 $41.98 Degree plus work experience
11-9032 Education administrators, elementary and secondary school 1,112 1,339 227 20% 0.97 0.99 $40.09 $40.74 Degree plus work experience
15-1011 Computer and information scientists, research 71 86 15 21% 0.56 0.54 $40.04 $42.98 Doctoral degree
Total 8358 9329 971 0.12 56.68 59.11

  • The best job on this chart is probably nuclear engineers. Besides paying well, it has the highest concentration — 2.54 LQ. (For more on LQ, click here.) It hasn’t added that many jobs (63 in the past five years), but it’s had a lot of growth, and the number of new jobs matches that of both pharmacists and education administrators — much larger occupations for whom 60-odd jobs aren’t nearly as big a deal.
  • The only healthcare job with a concentration above 1 is dentists (1.28 LQ), which means Idaho is below the national average for the majority of healthcare jobs.
  • Most of the highest-paying jobs haven’t actually grown that much, and some have actually declined. Ten of the 16 jobs inched up by single digits, while judges dropped -5%, engineering managers -11%, and computer hardware engineers -22%.
  • Four of the highest-paying jobs are related to engineering (SOC Code 17), and these have all grown since 2007.
  • Every single one of the jobs on this table requires a first professional degree, a bachelor’s degree, a doctoral degree, or a degree plus work experience.

Fastest-Growing

Here we want to examine two things: the percent growth, and the total number of new jobs since 2007. We also will use a filter on the next two tables which gives us only the jobs that earn above $25 per hour and employ more than 500 workers. The analysis will not include educational occupations like “elementary school teacher.”

Growth by percent:

SOC Code Description 2007 Jobs 2011 Jobs Change % Change 2007 National LQ 2011 National LQ 2011 Median Hourly Wage 2011 Avg Hourly Wage Education Level
Source: EMSI Complete Employment – 2011.4
49-9051 Electrical power-line installers and repairers 1,316 1,546 230 17% 2.23 2.66 $29.85 $28.87 Long-term on-the-job training
29-1111 Registered nurses 9,450 11,006 1,556 16% 0.73 0.82 $28.12 $29.16 Associate’s degree
29-1123 Physical therapists 931 1,074 143 15% 0.95 1.02 $31.53 $32.91 Master’s degree
11-9111 Medical and health services managers 1,552 1,744 192 12% 0.98 1.07 $31.69 $33.32 Degree plus work experience
29-1071 Physician assistants 518 577 59 11% 1.34 1.38 $39.01 $39.88 Master’s degree
Total 13767 15946 2179 0.16 29.3 30.23

  • Healthcare occupations dominate.
  • Electrical power-line installers & repairers grew the most — 17% growth since 07. However, the occupation category only added 230 new jobs.
  • Registered nurses grew by 16%, adding over 1,500 jobs. There are currently over 11,000 RN jobs in Idaho.

Growth by numbers:

SOC Code Description 2007 Jobs 2011 Jobs Change % Change 2007 National LQ 2011 National LQ 2011 Median Hourly Wage 2011 Avg Hourly Wage Education Level
Source: EMSI Complete Employment – 2011.4
29-1111 Registered nurses 9,450 11,006 1,556 16% 0.73 0.82 $28.12 $29.16 Associate’s degree
49-9051 Electrical power-line installers and repairers 1,316 1,546 230 17% 2.23 2.66 $29.85 $28.87 Long-term on-the-job training
11-9111 Medical and health services managers 1,552 1,744 192 12% 0.98 1.07 $31.69 $33.32 Degree plus work experience
11-3031 Financial managers 4,201 4,371 170 4% 1.15 1.14 $25.75 $28.37 Degree plus work experience
29-1123 Physical therapists 931 1,074 143 15% 0.95 1.02 $31.53 $32.91 Master’s degree
Total 17449 19740 2291 0.13 28.23 29.54

  • As we might have expected, registered nurses comes out on top with 1,556 new jobs.
  • The other jobs aren’t even close: electrical power-line installers & repairers (230 new jobs), medical & health services managers (192 new jobs), financial managers (170 new jobs), and physical therapists (143 new jobs).

Some handy defs:

Medical & health services managers plan, direct, or coordinate medicine and health services in hospitals, clinics, managed care organizations, public health agencies, or similar organizations.

Financial managers plan, direct, and coordinate accounting, investing, banking, insurance, securities, and other financial activities of a branch, office, or department of an establishment.

Putting both tables together: which job has the best growth? In Idaho, we’d have to give it to registered nurses, and this supports another conclusion we can draw based on this analysis: most of the fastest-growing jobs (both percent- and jobs-wise) are in the healthcare camp—just like the top high-wage jobs.

Most Concentrated

Concentration is measured by location quotient (LQ), and is basically another way of saying regional specialization. In other words, high LQs reveal the most compelling jobs for a particular region. The bad news is that when we look at the most concentrated jobs in Idaho, we see almost nothing but decline. Table 4 gives us the picture (again, with a filter that limits us to just the jobs with 500+ employees):

SOC Code Description 2007 Jobs 2011 Jobs Change % Change 2007 National LQ 2011 National LQ 2011 Median Hourly Wage 2011 Avg Hourly Wage Education Level
Source: EMSI Complete Employment – 2011.4
19-4093 Forest and conservation technicians 2,438 2,412 (26) (1%) 15.16 14.25 $14.90 $16.65 Associate’s degree
51-3093 Food cooking machine operators and tenders 1,446 1,373 (73) (5%) 7.52 7.42 $11.52 $12.41 Short-term on-the-job training
45-2041 Graders and sorters, agricultural products 1,334 1,322 (12) (1%) 5.24 5.41 $8.39 $9.47 Work experience in a related field
51-7041 Sawing machine setters, operators, and tenders, wood 1,518 1,029 (489) (32%) 4.55 4.29 $15.49 $15.31 Moderate-term on-the-job training
45-4022 Logging equipment operators 1,143 839 (304) (27%) 3.65 3.40 $15.35 $17.97 Moderate-term on-the-job training
21-1015 Rehabilitation counselors 2,041 2,294 253 12% 2.98 3.22 $17.75 $18.16 Master’s degree
11-9011 Farm, ranch, and other agricultural managers 5,081 5,248 167 3% 3.00 3.11 $21.13 $25.00 Degree plus work experience
45-1099 Supervisors, farming, fishing, and forestry workers 1,010 946 (64) (6%) 2.98 2.99 $15.24 $17.59 Work experience in a related field
35-9099 Food preparation and serving related workers, all other 781 721 (60) (8%) 2.89 2.91 $8.61 $9.25 Short-term on-the-job training
51-3092 Food batchmakers 1,463 1,523 60 4% 2.76 2.91 $15.35 $15.68 Short-term on-the-job training
43-5041 Meter readers, utilities 609 579 (30) (5%) 2.63 2.84 $18.46 $19.31 Short-term on-the-job training
45-209A Miscellaneous agricultural workers 11,385 11,454 69 1% 2.73 2.80 $10.54 $11.95 Short-term on-the-job training
49-9051 Electrical power-line installers and repairers 1,316 1,546 230 17% 2.23 2.66 $29.85 $28.87 Long-term on-the-job training
17-3027 Mechanical engineering technicians 748 567 (181) (24%) 3.00 2.58 $23.98 $23.87 Associate’s degree
11-9012 Farmers and ranchers 21,074 21,285 211 1% 2.29 2.40 $11.43 $16.46 Long-term on-the-job training
37-3013 Tree trimmers and pruners 724 583 (141) (19%) 2.83 2.35 $11.09 $12.48 Short-term on-the-job training
17-3029 Engineering technicians, except drafters, all other 898 842 (56) (6%) 2.41 2.34 $21.14 $21.64 Associate’s degree
11-1031 Legislators 711 717 6 1% 2.13 2.27 $14.39 $16.52 Degree plus work experience
35-1011 Chefs and head cooks 1,430 1,313 (117) (8%) 2.36 2.26 $11.35 $12.37 Work experience in a related field
39-2011 Animal trainers 1,331 1,365 34 3% 2.20 2.22 $11.43 $14.24 Moderate-term on-the-job training
39-6021 Tour guides and escorts 593 557 (36) (6%) 2.23 2.16 $10.69 $11.68 Moderate-term on-the-job training
19-4021 Biological technicians 802 827 25 3% 2.11 2.12 $13.93 $15.22 Bachelor’s degree
17-2071 Electrical engineers 2,061 1,596 (465) (23%) 2.39 2.05 $39.17 $40.20 Bachelor’s degree
25-4031 Library technicians 1,082 1,136 54 5% 1.88 2.02 $11.88 $13.05 Postsecondary vocational award
17-3031 Surveying and mapping technicians 835 737 (98) (12%) 2.09 2.02 $21.08 $22.99 Moderate-term on-the-job training
Total 63853 62811 -1042 -0.02 14.26 16.96

  • Forest & conservation technicians has a very high LQ in Idaho (15.16), but has only gone down since 2007 (-1% growth, down 26 jobs).
  • The worst plunges are in sawing machine setters/operators/tenders, wood (-32%, down almost 500), logging equipment operators (-27%, down 300), mechanical engineering technicians (-24%, down 180), and electrical engineers (-23%, down 465).
  • Farming, fishing and forestry occupations (SOC 45) — three out of four are in decline.
  • Architecture and engineering occupations (SOC 17) — all four are in decline.
  • Production occupations (SOC 51) — two out of three are in decline.
  • Management occupations (SOC 11) — these three jobs have grown a tiny bit.
  • Most of the highly concentrated jobs don’t pay that well; 19 of them make only $10 to $20 per hour. The highest-paying job is electrical engineers at $39.17, but — as we just saw — it has dropped by 23% and 465 jobs in the past five years.
  • Sixteen of 25 jobs require some sort of on-the-job training or related experience. Only nine require a degree of any kind.
  • Overall, the best job on the table is electrical power-line installers & repairers. It earns $29.85 an hour, has grown by 17% (230 new jobs), and has pretty strong concentration at 2.66.

For the curious:

Forest & conservation technicians compile data pertaining to size, content, condition, and other characteristics of forest tracts, under direction of foresters; train and lead forest workers in forest propagation, fire prevention and suppression. May assist conservation scientists in managing, improving, and protecting rangelands and wildlife habitats, and help provide technical assistance regarding the conservation of soil, water, and related natural resources.

Best Overall

The top jobs in Idaho are going to be in the healthcare family (especially registered nurses), plus nuclear engineers and electrical power-line installers & repairers. RNs have the best pay and have seen the best growth over the past five years. Nuclear engineers and power-line installers haven’t grown quite as much, but their pay and concentration are still solid. Especially when you factor in the overall occupational decline in Idaho, these three stand out as the best jobs for 2012.

 

One Response to “Top Jobs in Idaho for 2012”

  1. Candice Battson

    I would like to mention that the minimum it takes to be a registered nurse is an associates, those programs are dying out. Most hospitals lean toward a bachelor educated RN. This article implies RN’s have an associate degree education , many of us are bachelor or masters prepared.