Regional Public Journalism
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Landing One Job No Longer Sufficient For Many In Idaho

Jessica Robinson
Northwest News Network

POST FALLS, Idaho - Personal incomes took a hit in the economic downturn across the nation. But according to the latest figures, no state has lower median earnings than Idaho.

A few years ago, James Drennen and his family left Lancaster, Penn., to start a new life in north Idaho.

“We figured we could come out here and live on a whole lot less money and my wife could stay home," he says. "But when we got here, we found out the jobs aren't paying as well.”

Even as Idaho’s job market shows signs of recovery, many people are running into the same problem. The number of jobs that pay enough to support a family of four has been declining.

“People have to have assistance through food stamps or some other program," says Bob Fick from the Idaho Department of Labor. "Or they have to put together several jobs and still raise their kids.”

As a result, Idaho now has one of the highest rates of people working multiple jobs. And that includes James Drennen.

“It's what I have to do – and I don't even make ends meet, I just try to get them a little closer together,” he says.

Drennen works as a janitor in the evenings and a security guard in the summers. But his main job is as a workforce consultant at the local employment office.

Meanwhile, Washington incomes rank 11th highest in the nation. Oregon incomes come in at number 44.