BOISE -- About 700 people attended the Annual Economic Outlook Forum at the Boise Centre this morning.

The theme was The Boise Valley - A Cradle of Innovation.

Idaho economist John Church kicked off the annual event with a positive projection.

While he didn't mince word about how dismal the past few years have been, he said there islight at the end of the tunnel.

Church said a national economic forecast firm ranks Idaho the number one state in the nation for employment growth over the next five years.

That same firm predicts the Gem State with have the fifth highest population growth.

Another focus of today s event talked about the nearly dozen start-up companies that are growing the local economy at a grass roots level.

Micron President and COO Mark Durcan also spoke at today's event.

He talked about Micron's past as well as how they have weathered the recent tough economy.

2010 was a good year for Micron, we rebounded dramatically and in strong fashion from a couple of tough years with a record year relative to revenue at $8.5 billion, profits of $1.9 billion, said Durcan. The results I believe were driven primarily by actions we undertook in the tough times to restructure the company and to position us for growth as the worldwide economy continues to rebound.

Among the others speakers was Clark Krause, the new Executive Director of the Boise Valley Economic Partnership.

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