EMMETT - After various industries abandoned the area in the past decade -- including the noteworthy departure of the Boise Cascade Mill -- some say Emmett's labor market is much better.


We're getting people back to work, says Rudy Hernandez, the Office Manager for the local Dept. of Labor in Emmett.

However, Hernandez also says while there's more jobs, the quality of jobs is still suffering, despite growth. You can go and work fast food for $7.25, minimum wage, but that's really, for a family, not a livable wage, Hernandez explains.

Jonathan Titus is looking for work in Emmett. He's frustrated for the same reason.

There's not many jobs to be had around here that pay well, Titus told KTVB. There's a lot of minimum wage jobs.

Even so, the unemployment rate in Gem County and Emmett is more than 3 points lower than it was, just last year -- and that's a good thing for many here.

However, to find that employment, many of those newly-minted workers have had to travel to Ada and Canyon County where wages are higher. What's more, the trend has grown enough to deserve its own label.

Emmett Mayor Bill Butticci calls it a bedroom valley, and says that means that many people work in the bigger cities in the Treasure Valley, but live in Emmett. Butticci should know: he works in Boise and lives in Emmett, himself.

It's a great place to a bring up a family, Butticci says. You have kids, you have a high school where you're one-on-one with the kids. We have plenty of activities, and it's safe here.

And while Mayor Butticci says he enjoys living in Emmett, he also says it's tough balancing the budget for a bedroom community.

The challenge is our tax base, Butticci explains. We all know that in communities and cities you make the money to run your community off of your industry and your business.

Butticci says when a community is a bedroom valley, like Emmett, much of the tax base tends to come from residential sources, which means the City doesn't make as much money as other places with larger, higher tax paying industries.

The solution?

Butticci says he wants to try to draw industry back to Emmett by building up transportation access while promoting the area and its people.

We're just waiting for that boom to start up, Butticci says.

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