Like other areas, issues about growth and how to attract businesses into the region are concerns for Kathy Ray, executive director of The Four County Alliance of Southeastern Idaho, an organization whose goal is economic development. Those counties are Franklin, Bear Lake, Oneida and Caribou Counties. On this past Monday’s For the People program, Ray gave a rundown on how those counties are doing.
“Not all of my counties have seen a significant growth rate. Oneida County is pretty flat, we gain some and we lose some,” said Ray. “Franklin County is our strongest component as far as a continuous, steady growth rate. And, of course, they’re connected to Cache Valley. And Bear Lake, they’ve seen just kind of a steady decline in population.”
Ray said they are finding that more people are migrating towards larger population areas mainly for work and plus not everyone likes to live in a rural area. But she also said some of the industries drawing people to southeast Idaho include mining and agriculture-based companies.
Phosphate and pumice industries have made significant increases in employment in the area. Ray said in addition to trying to attract new business, they’ve had quite a bit of success in expanding existing businesses such as Valley Wide Cooperative and trailer businesses.
She said a great resource for businesses seeking skilled workers and also job seekers is the Idaho Labor Employment office in Pocatello. Also word-of-mouth is quite effective in helping people find work in small communities.