KC Dem Club on-line: Sam Wolkenhauer, IDL–KC Boom Economy?

If you look around, there are signs that Kootenai County is showing signs of a coming Boom Economy. The question is, will this economic recovery benefit everyone? To give use some clarity and answers to our questions, we welcome back Sam Wolkenhauer. Sam is our region’s economist. He works for the Idaho Department of Labor. Breaking down the complexities of our area’s economic outlook is what he does best.

In a recent CDA Press article, Nowhere to go but up, Sam explained that we now have two distinct economies. One is the new Zoom economy that expanded due to the constraints of the lockdown. Fortunately, the members of the Zoom economy could telework to perform their normal job functions. This is a white-collar workforce. For this group, the last year has been challenging but not devastating. Sam put it this way. “Certainly, their routines have been disrupted, and it might not have been a particularly pleasant year, but there are no mass job losses,” he said.
The other economy is driven by the service sector. This sector shrunk considerably over the past year but remain in force despite the health crisis. Workers in this group receive low-wages and their jobs are not performed remotely. Sam’s assessment for this group was not as upbeat. “…, the lower wage service sector strata of the workforce is dealing with Great Depression levels of unemployment.” If we view this in graphic form, it becomes clear some people are “booming” more than others.

Join us this Friday, at noon online, for a great discussion on what the economic future holds for Kootenai County.

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