For industry, skilled and available workforce is one of the primary considerations among Critical Location Factors. While this is true for the aerospace industry as well, there are also other labor factors that contribute to a business’s likelihood of locating to an area. In addition to skilled and available workforce, other factors include educational programs, wage levels, workforce with transferable skills, the location’s ability to attract workforce, and union risk.

According to the most recent 2012 data, the Idaho aerospace industry directly employs 2,200 workers from over 200 establishments including 37 suppliers to Boeing, which total $11.5M in annual purchase. As previously mentioned, NAICS taxonomy does not allow for accurate reporting. In a separate phone study conducted by the Idaho Department of Labor in 2013, an additional 111 companies, totaling 1,725 employees, were also found to be associated with the aerospace industry but not classified in the industry code taxonomy. An additional 20 companies, employing 906 workers, could also be involved in the aerospace industry, but could not be confirmed.

Comparatively speaking, Idaho’s aerospace industry is relatively small, ranking 46th in the nation, according to the Census of Employment and Wages. However, the report also shows that Idaho ranks top among states for the emergence of its aerospace cluster and future growth. In the five years prior to the recent recession, Idaho ranked 6th nationally for growth percentage in aerospace employment, at 15.2% annually. In the following 5 years, from 2007-2012, Idaho’s growth was ranked 14th. Perhaps most impressive is the projected growth of the industry over the next 10 ten years, expanding employment 21.5% and increasing jobs from 2,180 in 2012 to 2,648 in 2022.

Growth in NW Aerospace Employment
Area 2002-2007 U.S. Rank Area 2007-2012 U.S. Rank
Montana 37.9% 2 Washington 12.2% 3
Utah 18.0% 5 Nevada 6.3% 5
Idaho 15.2% 6 Oregon 0.0% 13
Nevada 10.8% 10 Idaho -0.7% 14
Oregon 6.7% 16 Wyoming -3.0% 24
Wyoming 2.7% 23 Montana -9.0% 33
Washington 2.6% 25 Utah -20.1% 44


Projected  Growth of NW Aerospace Employment
Area 2012-2022 U.S. Rank
Oregon 35.4% 4
Idaho 21.5% 6
Wyoming 19.1% 7
Nevada 18.9% 8

Source: QCEW Employees – EMSI 2013.2 Class of Worker

Another metric comparing states’ aerospace clusters is location quotient. Location quotient compares the number of jobs in a population area to the national average. With the national average equaling one (1), a number above one indicates the area has more jobs than the national average and a number below 1 means there are fewer jobs than the national average. For example, location quotients of 2 and 0.5 means an area has twice the national average and 50 percent of the national average, respectively. Using this metric, Idaho receives an “average” grade since it does not over-perform or greatly underperform the national average. According to Deloitte Site Location Consultants, the following job code, location quotients are most useful to the aerospace manufacturing sector:

Job Code Description Location Quotient
17-3012 Electrical and Electronics Drafters 0.92
51-2099 Assemblers and Fabricators n/d
49-3011 Aircraft Mechanic and Service Technicians 1.07
51-4041 Machinists 0.68
51-2022 Electrical and Electronic Equipment Assemblers 0.87
51-2092 Team Assemblers 1.17

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupations Employment Statistics

Idaho’s Mountain Home Air Force Base (MHAFB) and Air National Guard support a regional aerospace industry and provide a qualified workforce to the area. Adding to the above pool of potential workforce, Mountain Home AFB has 4,500 assigned military personnel while the Idaho Air National Guard accounts for over 1,400 jobs directly related to fixed wing and helicopter operations. Military personnel assigned to these units have made an easy transition to civilian employment, becoming assets to the region’s aerospace employers. To help military members transition, the military has created the Transition Assistance Program (TAP), which helps servicemen transition to civilian employment. The program sees approximately 150 participants per year, and northern Idaho employers have successfully used the TAP program to recruit and hire more than 50 veterans certified in airframe and power-plant mechanics. The proximity of Utah’s Hill AFB and Washington’s Fairchild AFB also bolster the region’s aerospace businesses with a wide variety of missions, units, and personnel.

Posted in Commerce