Federal research lab is Idaho's biggest job creator

A new study released this month challenges the popular notion that government creates no jobs.
The Idaho National Laboratory creates more than 24,000 Idaho jobs and generates $3.5 billion in economic impact, according to Boise State economists.

The eastern Idaho Department of Energy research facility had more than 8,000 people directly working for the government or its contractors in Idaho making it the second largest employer in the state. The largest is the Idaho state government, The BSU study said.

An additional 16,133 people have jobs because the INL is there due to the multiplier effect. That includes people working in the state’s largest private employer, Walmart.

“Although state government is Idaho’s largest employer, it is important to keep in mind that most of its funding comes from sources within the state,” said Geoffrey Black, chairman of the Department of Economics at Boise State and a researcher on the project. “INL is not only the second largest source of jobs in the state, but nearly all of its funding comes from outside Idaho.

“This provides a huge shot in the arm to the state’s economy, particularly in the eastern part of the state,” Black said. “Nothing else comes close.”

The study shows that INL increased personal income in Idaho by $2 billion. Even though its money comes from the federal government it generated more than $135 million in personal income, corporate income, sales and other taxes paid to the state. And INL contractors and the federal government paid another $2.5 million to Idaho colleges and universities for their employees’ continuing education.

Black points out the obvious that many Idahoans simply scoff at: The INL has been a stabilizing force in Idaho’s economy, especially as the private economy has dropped into the deepest recession since the 1980s.

“The state’s economic picture is substantially brighter than it would be without INL,” Black said.

So think about this. The INL had more than 12,000 employees in 1990 before the end of the Cold War and the Clinton Administration’s drive to balance the federal budget dramatically cut its programs. By the end of the 1990s it had just over 6,000 employees and its impact on the state’s economy dropped with it.

We are now seeing a consensus forming again to cut the federal deficit. That means that all federal programs will likely come under the axe in one way or the other. We have already seen state government trim thousands of jobs since 2007.

So that mean’s Idaho private sector employers are going to have to grow even more to make up for the government chunk of the economy. They were up to the task in the 1990s, driven in part by the housing boom.

That boom was aided in eastern Idaho by the large number of INL retirees who stayed put and kept their government pensions pumping dollars into Idaho's economy. Today companies like Melaleuca and Premier Technology are thriving there and the French government-subsidized company Areva, is on the cusp of opening its doors in eastern Idaho.

The private sector has repeatedly shown itself to be the most efficient at creating wealth, which few economists challenge. But government policies from land give-aways to interstate highway development to energy research all have helped make the U.S. the richest nation in the world.

a dog chasing its tail

thats all this is

Idaho's congressional delegation will fight for funding...

at the same time they insist the federal government cut spending. So, why is that a federally funded job is considered good and important to the local economy yet a state funded job is a bad thing.

There's a bigger takeaway from this report

The big lesson to be learned from the BSU study is this: Don't stop learning after high school. So maybe you don't want to be an engineer or physicist - get a technical certificate. Any idea just how much welding goes into a nuclear reactor?

Yes, federal money, blah, blah, blah. Get an education.

Another one of those pass the buck Higher Ed happy talkers.

Live in a fantasy world, Sluggo.


Happy Jesus Thing and a Chinese New Year

Common sense...

The "popular notion that government creates no jobs" relates to GOVERNMENT SPENDING as a mechanism for private job creation, not DIRECT GOVERNMENT HIRING. Get a brain.

The INL workers are employed by the government. Thus, they are not private sector employees. Obama and Bush sold their $1.5 trillion stimulus bomb as a way to create private sector jobs. That obviously didn't work.

Popular notion 1; Rocky Barker 0.

The funny pages blog

"So that mean’s Idaho private employers"

I won't even bother with the rest of the blog today.
This one is too funny.

Rocky, since you love the federal government so much, maybe you can apply there.

good self-promotion

The report was funded by Battelle Energy Alliance- the managing company for INL.

Also funny that it is a BSU COBE study instead of ISU. Hence the included pictures of BSU admin.

Did the professors forget ISU has a nuclear engineering degree?

INL Impacts Report

Hello, I work at INL and want to clarify that although BEA provided some funding for the study, most of the funds came from other public and private entities. And although BSU economists did this year's study, ISU has conducted several INL Impacts reports in the past (most recently in 1999 and 2000). Thanks for the opportunity to provide this additional information.
Marilyn Whitney, INL


Thanks for the info Ms. Whitney.
Maybe you can clarify the "other public and private entities". I can only understand what I read- the brochure says under "a subcontract with BEA".

I'll guess the others might be, the local Chamber of Commerce and related lobby groups. If you said IACI (another guess) contributed to it, it certainly would not surprise anyone. The point is, it's self-promotion.

And I'll make another guess- it will be commonly quoted in the legislature as "in a study conducted by BSU economists...." whereas saying, "in a study by Battelle Energy Alliance..." doesn't sound nearly as good.

Might I suggest the INL (and other public and private entities) not spend the money on such negligible information. IF INL is sponsoring this every year (1999 & 2000 indicates an annual trend), the information can't be changing too much from year to year. A reasonable person "gets it"- The INL has a huge econonmic impact for Idaho and especially eastern Idaho. And that press release doesn't cost you anything.

Don't get me wrong, I'm a fan! I love things that glow.


And when is the media brochure being printed about the negative impacts of INL and the radioactive waste?

That's because we have privatized prisons...

and they can improve cancer treatments.


Happy Jesus Thing and a Chinese New Year

Lessee, how many ways is this wrong


Yes, the funding for the INL comes from the federal government, but the site is operated by private companies under contract, so therefore unless I'm mistaken, and it certainly wouldn't be the first time, the employees at the INL are indeed private sector employees working for private contractors.

Anybody got a different take on this?

Idaho National Laboratory Research

If you would like to learn more about the energy and security research projects going on at INL, visit http://www.inl.gov/research. In addition to the fact sheets, there are some videos at the bottom of the page. One set focuses on research projects; the other set focuses on staff and the work they do daily. Quite a variety of topics here.

If criticizing the Statesman PAID, it would rank well.


Happy Jesus Thing and a Chinese New Year