Finances are looking up for Idaho workers. The Gem State now leads the nation in wage growth.  Wages and salary increases led the nation, according to the Wall Street Journal.  Mountain West states saw growth as well as added benefits and increased salaries. Idaho's growth increased  5.3% compared to 3.1% for the entire country.

As people continue to move to the Western states, demands, durable goods, homes, and tech workers follow. The economic sector with the most growth was durable goods which gained almost 10% from last year.

Finding good workers is a challenge to Gem State employers. Jan Roeser, a regional labor economist at the Idaho Department of Labor, told the Journal, "every HR professional is being quizzed on how can we retain our best and brightest, how can we attract our best and brightest."

Idaho's wage growth has a long way to go for most workers.  Currently, the state ranks 44th in per capita income. Wages have been a topic among the current crop of candidates looking to replace three-term Republican Butch Otter.

Otter has received national acclaim for luring yogurt manufacturing Chobani to Twin Falls, Idaho. The company recently announced plans to expand the world's largest yogurt factory. The addition of Chobani and its suppliers have turned the once small Idaho town into the nation's newest metro area.

Jobs that continue fuel growth are food service, agriculture, and construction.  The challenge for elected leaders will be to figure out how to balance the growth with sustainable infrastructure.

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