Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Boise Economy Bigger than Big Business

At one time a big layoff from Micron or Albertson's would have knocked Boise's economy for a loop. But that's not the case anymore. Boise's economic diversity including mining and agricultural support, tourism, a growing services sector, and the 6th most corporate headquarters per capita in the nation insulates it from stormy economic weather.

The growth of small and medium sized businesses in Boise is a big part of the strength of Boise's economy. For example, stability of Boise storage units and grocery stores reflects overall economic stability, as they are sensitive to population change and consumer activity. Because these smaller businesses do most of their business locally, they are better gauges for Boise's local economy than Albertson's and Micron.

Of course not even Boise's housing sector escaped the crash that pulled every major city in the country down. Building is still growing at a slow pace. But this itself has created opportunities to young Boise families. Some who wouldn't have been able to afford a home before the market crash are now able to find a comfortable one in their budgets. With Boise's relatively stable job market this could be a boon to the economy, giving young people an extra incentive to stay in the area. Weak housing markets also tend to boost other industries, such as those storage units Boise residents are coming to depend on.

Smaller businesses have also seemed to absorb Micron's 2009 layoff quite well. Boise has a fairly robust high tech economy, which means Micron employees may not have had to go too far to find similar jobs. Additionally, Boise State University has strong programs for supplementary education and retraining.

All things considered, Boise's economy is well situated to endure economic dips. While we appreciate having the large businesses like Micron, none of them are "too big to fail" for the Boise economy anymore.


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