Adam’s Blog

That’s my thing, keepin’ the faith, baby. –Joe Friday

Good Paying Jobs

Posted by Adam Graham on March 15, 2007

Moutain Goat Report takes issue with this statement from Congressman Bill Sali:

In the eyes of many environmentalists, “the evolving West” means replacing good-paying jobs in forest products, mining, oil and gas and ranching with an economy based on ecotourism and bed and breakfasts. In Idaho, we call this theory part of the “War on the West.”

Mountain Goat Report responds:

my dad would probably be interested in one of those good-paying ranching jobs. Seems all the ranching he ever did didn’t pay so well…isn’t that one of the reasons so many farmers and ranchers still collect Ag subsidies?

In the case of ranching and timber, the pay is never very great. You’re not going to get rich on it unless you’re very fortunate. But compared to eco-tourism, they pay very well. I’ve lived up in Kalispell, Montana where a good paying job in this tourism industry may pay $6.50 an hour. When a call center opened that paid people $7.50 an hour after two weeks of training, they were jumping for joy. That’s what ecotourism gives you and despite the problems in ranching, the ranch hand is far, far better off than the employee of the little bed and breakfast.

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4 Responses to “Good Paying Jobs”

  1. Hey Adam, it’s been awhile. I’ll take your word that a B&B employee makes $6.50 per hour since I haven’t done any research on it.

    It may go without saying but ranching is a lifestyle. It’s 365 days a year, up before dawn and work hard ’til the sun goes down, sometimes long after, and no days off. You figure that guy’s hourly wage and it probably doesn’t even come close to $6.50 per hour. That’s what is so amusing about Sali’s comment…it’s not a good-paying job. Not that I can imagine any rancher wanting to trade it for anything. I’m still chuckling a little bit imagining my dad as an employee at a bed and breakfast.

    The thing that disappoints me with Sali’s statement is that it appears stuck on old paradigms and lacks vision…something that does a disservice to Idaho’s pioneering spirit.

  2. Adam Graham [Member] said

    Congressman Sali represents the whole panhandle region. In the cities, things have changed. Rural Idaho, you really only have two choices. Regarding wages, your average ranch hand earns $8.31 an hour according to the Department of Labor. A bit of a difference, I’d say to the $6.50 they’ll pay for someone to work at a hotel resort in Kalispell.

  3. Alan [Visitor] said

    Loggers can make a very good living. It’s not uncommon for a logger to make $50 to $60k per year, and they don’t work in the winter. Especially given the educational level of many of them and the small communities they live in, many do very well.

  4. Adam Graham [Member] said

    $50-60K isn’t rich, but you’re right that logging can be profitable and quite a bit better than a bed and breakfast.

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