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Job Growth in Pocatello, Where It's Illegal Not to Smile!

Updated on February 16, 2023
Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Ms. Inglish is successful at employment & training, with regional records of tens of thousands placed and retained in gainful employment.

Blackfoot, Idaho

[Photo public domain from from]
[Photo public domain from from]

Smiling Sustainable City of Pocatello

It is not illegal to frown in Pocatello Idaho today, but in another century, a law on the books did require a smile. It was good for getting along and good for businesses. In the 21st Century, Pocatello commemorates the tradition of the constant smile with the annual Smile Fest. It is as popular here as Forgiveness Day is in parts of Canada. It's pleasant.

Pocatello and its business incentives make foreign investors smile as well, and that is one reason that this town was named one of the Top 10 Micro-Cities in North America for the Future.

The city offers small town benefits of community connections and the growth potential of a metropolis.

Growing Technology and Sustainability

Technology contributes to the status of Pocatello as a Top Micro-City, and this is shown with local employers like ON Semiconductor, the largest firm in the area.

ON amazingly produces applications to serve all of the following: the automotive industry, computers/peripherals across varied professions, LED lighting, networking/telecommunications, power supply and circuit protection, and others.

Sustainability is targeted with the wind at Nordic Windpower, the product of two decades of R & D. They have proved that their own Nordic Windpower technology is highly effective and efficient for over 10 years.

This is a partnership among the Swedish, UK, and US professionals, and it works. Joining Nordic in the area is Hoku Scientific, active in solar and fuel cells as well as cleantech materials. The local county's Bannock Development Corporation wishes to bring more of these types of businesses into the Pocatello-Chubbuck-American Falls market.

SE Idaho Labor Market (Lower right-hand sector)


King Potato

Pocatello and American Falls are the largest cities in Bannock and Power Counties, respectively and are within 21 miles of each other. The Greater Pocatello Area takes in all of Bannock and Power Counties in Southeastern Idaho and crosses into the Fort Hall Native American Reservation in Power County.

Pocatello City is the second city in Idaho honored in the Top 10 List of Micro-Cities for the Future in North America, listed 7th after Idaho Falls. These cities are among 10 smaller cities in America and Canada that are attractive to foreign investors, to domestic business owners, and to workers. They are often attractive to young families and to Mid-Careerists as well as to retirees that are looking either to continue some form of employment or to finally retire from work. Pocatello was home to approximately 55,000 people in 2009, rising to 57,100 in 2022.

Most people have heard of the famous Idaho Potato. It's an icon of American agriculture and dining. This Southeastern Area includes Blackfoot, Idaho, which is also called the Potato Capital of the World.

Story of the Idaho Potato

The area enjoys a lower unemployment rate than the nation, but the labor force decreased somewhat in the early 2010s, rising again in the 2020s.

Bannock County has been boosted economically by the activities of the Idaho National Laboratory in its work in cancer prevention and treatment agents.

Infrastructure improvements to local highways facilitated business further in Bannock County and Power County increased production in sustainable energies with improvement in coal production and new wind farms.

Irrigation companies in Power County are successful in helping to increase food crops as a revenue source.

The unemployment rate in both counties has lower than state and national averages since the beginning of 2009, with an early rate for bother counties at under 4,0%.

Location of Jobs

Most of the jobs listed in June '09 on in the Pocatello - American Falls region within a 50-mile radius are in Pocatello and Idaho Falls. Additional work is located in Blackfoot, American Falls, Chubbock, and Fort Hall (on the Shohone-Bannock Fort Hall Reservation).

High-Growth Industries

Industries taking the lead in 21st Centuy Pocatello include clean technologies, sustainable energy, management across all industries, education, sales, and healthcare. Research partners such as Idaho State University and Bannock Development work together to foster business development and attraction for Pocatello. 

Top 7 Employers in Pocatello

  1. ON Semiconductor - IT technologies.
  2. Idaho State University
  3. Portneuf Medical Center
  4. Northwest Bec Corporation
  5. BRP Health Management
  6. Farm Bureau Insurance
  7. Idaho State Journal

Highest Job Vacancies in Greater Pocatello

  1. Registered nurses (RNs)
  2. Health/Medical technicians, therapists, and therapy assistants
  3. General Managers and assistant managers
  4. Store associates: Clerks, salespeople, and cashiers
  5. Manufacturing jobs

Top 10 Fast Growing Jobs through 2026

Long-term employment forecasts of quickest growing jobs:

  1. Meical/Healthcare workers
  2. Retail workers
  3. Tourism Employment, including food services, recreation, hotels, etc.
  4. Manufacturing jobs at all levels of education
  5. Construction jobs
  6. Education
  7. Engineers and related technicians in many fields
  8. Administrative Services
  9. Self-Employment
  10. Fnance and Insurance

Shoshone and Bannock Nations

Native Americans in Pocatello in the 1880s. Today they grow potatoes.
Native Americans in Pocatello in the 1880s. Today they grow potatoes.

Annual Museum/Indian Festival at Fort Hall

Fort Hall Reservation

Fort Hall Indian Reservation is home to Bannock and Shoshone Nations and located in four counties in SE Idaho, including both Bannock and Power as well as Bingham and Caribou. The ruins of old Fort Hall, which was a stopover point on several trails blazed across America to the West and the Gold Rush, are maintained on the reservation. A town called Fort Hall lies on the reservation and is the largest within reservation boundaries.

The City of Pocatello is named after Chief Pocatello of the Shoshone Nation, who made agreements with the Mormon settlers and their leader Joseph Smith. He also agreed with the US Federal Government to allow railroad lines to cross Native-held lands. The US Army came through and additional conflicts occurred because of this intrusion, resulting in 200 native deaths.

Chief Pocatello tried to move his people West, but after some additional conflict, agreed to maintain them on a reservation beside the Snake River and was joined by some Bannocks.

The major industries on the reservation today include a resort and agriculture activities involving wheat and potato crops.

Pocatello Top Attractions

  • Bannock Development Corporation: A private, non-profit economic development organization working for continued growth and diversity in Bannock County, Idaho.
  • Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve, just northwest of Pocatello at 1266 Craters Loop Road, Arco, ID 83213 (south off West US Highway 93/State Route 26).
  • Fort Hall Shoshone-Bannock Reservation, Fort Hall, ID 83203, just west of Craters of the Moon, off I-86 and Arbor Valley Highway.
  • Idaho Museum of Natural History
  • Idaho State University: A state-supported institution in Pocatello, Idaho, offers a remarkable combination of academic excellence and relaxed lifestyle.
  • Idaho International Choral Festival, since 1996

    In the western foothills of the Rocky Mountains along the Oregon Trail, Pocatello and the adjoining City of Chubbuck have a combined population of 62,000+ residents. They enjoy the Choral Festival yearly, along with many vacationers.

Idaho Museum of Natural History:
698 E Dillon St, Pocatello, ID 83201, USA

get directions

Fort Hall Reservation:
Fort Hall Reservation, ID, USA

get directions

Craters of the Moon National Monument,:
Craters of the Moon National Monument & Preserve, Idaho, USA

get directions


This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2009 Patty Inglish MS


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