There’s clearly more to Idaho than just potatoes.
Atlas Van Lines tracks the direction of the household relocations it helps people make, and Idaho had the highest percentage of inbound moves last year, with almost two-thirds of moves entering the state rather than departing it. Only eight other states (and the District of Columbia) had substantially more inbound relocations than outbound ones.
What drawing people to Idaho?
The numbers suggest a healthy state economy. The unemployment rate, at 3.8 percent, is well below the national average. In November, private-sector employment in Idaho increased by 3,400 jobs, and over the past year, businesses in the state have added 15,000 jobs. Idaho’s gross domestic product expanded by 2.1 percent year over year as of the second quarter of 2016, significantly above the national growth rate of 1.2 percent over that time.
Idaho’s strong economic conditions can be partly attributed to big tax breaks it has given to businesses in the last few years, according to a local report. More than 30 companies have moved to or expanded in the state, creating 5,200 new jobs, under a tax reimbursement incentive program that was approved in 2014.
Under the program, Idaho can refund up to 30 percent of state corporate income taxes, payroll taxes and sales taxes to companies that generate an estimated 50 new jobs in urban areas and 20 in rural ones.
The state’s chief economist expects the good times to continue. Personal income in Idaho is predicted to increase 3.9 percent this year, 4.5 percent in 2018 and 5.2 percent in 2019. Wages and salaries are forecast to grow 5.6 percent this year, 4.8 percent in 2018 and 5.5 percent in 2019.
“These are important factors that tend to drive Idaho’s economy,” the state’s chief economist, Derek Santos, said in a local report.
There were also eight other states that saw marked inbound moves in 2016, Atlas noted, including Michigan, which broke a decade-long streak that saw more moves out than in and was the only state in the Midwest that gained from relocations in 2016.
Atlas tallied the number of moves in a state and if the inbound moves represented 55 percent or more of the total, the state’s migration pattern was considered inbound.
Overall, the volume of all moves in the country slipped almost 3 percent from 2015.