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Idaho’s economy peppier than expected

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Idaho's economy had a little more pep last fall, winter and into the spring than analysts originally thought, underscoring activity that has generated a multimillion-dollar cushion in the state treasury.

The better-than-expected performance of recent months also bolstered prospects for the future. Batt administration economists remain convinced that growth into the next century will be at a more sustainable rate, but they now believe it will be a little stronger than they anticipated just six months ago."While the slowing of the Idaho economy may be a departure from its experience in the early 1990s, one tradition endures: Idaho's economy will continue to outperform the national economy," the analysts asserted in the administration's new economic forecast.

"This slowing should also provide the state's infrastructure a chance to catch up after the recent stretch of stellar growth," they said.

With the rest of the nation enjoying what Federal Reserve Chair-man Alan Greenspan calls the best combination of strong growth and low inflation in a half century, the healthy Idaho economy is becoming less of a magnet.

Analysts said 2,300 fewer people relocated to Idaho last year than they predicted and this year the in-migration should be 2,800 lower than expected.

At the same time, job opportunities will continue to increase while the extremely low unemployment rate appears to be pushing wages higher.