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Idaho’s October unemployment rate edges up to 3.2%


For Immediate Release: Nov. 17, 2023
Media Contact: Craig.Shaul@labor.idaho.gov or John.Panter@labor.idaho.gov

– State leads the nation in over-the-year nonfarm job growth at 3.5% –

Idaho’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate increased to 3.2% in October from 3.1% in September.

The state’s labor force increased by 1,900 people (0.2%) to 971,208.

Idaho’s labor force participation rate – the percentage of people 16 years of age or older who are either employed or looking for work – remained at 62.4% in October.

Total employment increased by 693 (0.1%) to 939,743 as unemployment increased by 1,207 (4.6%) to 31,465 – the highest number of unemployed in Idaho since June 2021.

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Idaho’s economy and labor market: A decade of growth and change

Idaho’s economy and labor market have undergone significant changes in the last 10 years. The state has experienced a population boom after its recovery from the Great Recession, even during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Population growth and the labor market

One of the most striking features of Idaho’s economy in the last decade is the surge in its population. According to the Census Bureau, from 2012 to 2022, Idaho witnessed an increase of 343,000 residents inside its borders raising its total population to 1.939 million. If all of the additional residents collected themselves to start a new city in Idaho, it would be 45% larger than Boise, Idaho’s largest city with a population in 2022 of 236,632. This thought experiment demonstrates not only the magnitude of the population increase but the incredible economic change it drove.

From 2016, Idaho’s population growth rate held a streak as first in the nation with the highest percentage increase in population from year to year. In 2022, Idaho was second only to Florida with a 1.8% growth rate that was more than double the national average of 0.7%.

New residents to Idaho over the last decade also resulted in a civilian labor force increase of 178,400 or 23.1%. The civilian labor force includes people in the civilian population who are working or looking for work if unemployed. This increase helped drive Idaho’s total nonfarm employment up by 110,000, or 17.9%, from 2012 to 2022.

Idaho long term industry projections and industry performance

One method we can use to examine Idaho’s economic performance is to compare its growth with the Idaho Department of Labor’s long-term industry projections (LTIP). The LTIPS are produced every two years from historical data and economic models to provide an outlook of employment trends for the next ten years. They provide information on the growth or decline of each industry sector in Idaho.

It is important to note these projections offer a conservative forecast from which to make this comparison. The resulting data are not a prediction of the future, but a thought-experiment about what the economy may look like in ten years if running at full-capacity.  Disruptions, such as a financial crisis or a pandemic, are not anticipated, nor are technological advancements (except when there is a known major industrial expansion in the works at the time the projections are developed).

The core intent is simple. Long-term industry projections are used to provide strategic information to people planning their careers and educational path. Educational institutions use industry projections for administration planning purposes. The projection process involves researching over 100 individual Idaho industries. Each industry projection involves a number of techniques and variables, with unpredictable changes that are harder to project.

Economic context is essential when comparing actual employment data from 2012 to 2022 with Idaho’s long-term industry projections developed in the first half of 2014. At that time, the U.S. and Idaho were emerging from the aftermath of the Great Recession. The projected increase of 109,700 jobs from 2012 to 2022 represented an annualized percentage growth of 1.7%. This projection was a conservatively optimistic model-driven estimate.Idaho total employment and 10-year projections

Figure 1

Idaho’s actual annualized growth rate of 2.9% from 2012 to 2022 with 206,400 more employment, turned out to be nearly twice that projection. The difference proved to be the surge in Idaho’s population growth. While making the projection in 2014, department analysts reviewed several population forecasts from a number of different sources. Two examples are included in the chart below. The most conservative projection was 0.8% annual growth, and among the most optimistic, 1.2%. No projection came close to the annual average population growth rate of 2%.Changes in Idaho's Resident Population

Figure 2

In addition, nearly every industry sector exceeded the national average. Some of the particularly strong sectors included construction, education and health services, leisure and hospitality and other services. The only Idaho industry sector that showed a decline was information, which includes publishing, broadcasting, telecommunications and data processing.

2012-2022 U.S. and Idaho Comparative Industry Changes

Figure 3

Idaho’s population boom increased the demand for housing and the projections for construction wildly surpassed the actual change as shown in Figure 4, which nearly tripled the employment increase. Employment increases in health care and social services were very close to the long-term projections for 2012-2022, arriving at a 3.1% annualized growth versus the 3% projected rate. Health care and social services (Figure 5) was Idaho’s only private industry sector that did not experience job declines during the Great Recession.Construction jobs compared with long term projections

Figure 4

Health care and social assistance jobsFigure 5

Idaho’s economic diversification attracted new businesses and industries, such as Amazon, which opened a fulfillment center in Nampa in 2020 and created over 2,000 jobs. Adaptation to the COVID-19 pandemic benefited some industry sectors where Amazon is included like trade, transportation and utilities. Home delivery of online shopping saw an accelerated expansion of distribution in Idaho for the company and raised the growth trajectory of this sector above the projection as shown in Figure 6.

Trade, transportation and utilities jobs

Figure 6

These are just a few examples of how and why Idaho’s economy has performed exceedingly well compared to the 2012-2022 long-term projections. Idaho has outperformed the national averages in most industry sectors, and our state’s economy has shown remarkable growth and change in the last decade, driven by its nation-leading population growth. The long-term projections provide a useful tool to understand future trends and challenges of the labor market and creates context for a dynamic and unpredictable nature of the economy. This is why Idaho’s long-term industry projections are updated every two years and serve as useful informational tools for stakeholders.


The Idaho Department of Labor is funded by the US Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration to produce long-term industry and occupation projections. Every state in the nation receives funding for the same effort. The national data use for this process can be found at the Bureau of Labor Statistics website, and tools such as O*Net. Long-term projections are produced every other year with the 2020-2030 set being the most recent.  The next set will be produced and released mid-2024 covering the 2022-2032 period.

The Idaho Department of Labor also produces an annual economic report cataloging the changes of the previous year. The most recent report covers 2022 and can be found here: Idaho_Labor_Market_Report_2022.pdf

Click here to view a live version of this webinar.

Craig.Shaul@labor.idaho.gov, research analyst supervisor
Idaho Department of Labor
208-332-3570 ext. 3201

This Idaho Department of Labor project is 100% funded by USDOL as part of $695,785 in Workforce Information Grant funds from the Employment and Training Administration.

Meridian’s population grows with many jobs available


For Immediate Release: Dec. 1, 2023
Media Contact: Sheri.Phimmasone@labor.idaho.gov

– Winter Hiring Event scheduled for Dec. 8 –

Meridian is the second largest city in Idaho with 129,736 residents. It grew by almost 4,000 people between 2021 and 2022, with a 3.2% growth rate. Nampa came in first place.

“Meridian’s civilian labor force grew by 6.2% since November of 2022, adding almost 4,000 people to the labor force,” said Idaho labor economist Jan Roeser. “There are many opportunities for job seekers to connect with employers.”

With Meridian’s population continuing to grow, many employers have job vacancies to fill.

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Idaho’s resilient tourism sector and the increasing costs of travel

As the holidays are upon us, many look forward to traveling and recreational activities as they spend time with friends and family. Idahoans and others from across the country come to see the state’s natural beauty and famous winter sports during the holiday season. The tourism industry is crucial to Idaho’s economy, being Idaho’s third largest industry (behind agriculture and technology) as of 2021¹. Tourism is also a rapidly growing industry. In 2021, $4.8 billion dollars were spent by visitors on direct travel spending (up 12.2% from 2019) with 84% of tourism spending generated by out-of-state visitors (up 8% from 2019)¹. However, with increasing costs of transportation and other economic headwinds, travel and tourism may see some challenges this holiday season.

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Around Idaho: Economic activity in November 2023

Information provided in these news updates is from professional sources, news releases, weekly and daily newspapers, television and other media.

Northern Idaho
North Central Idaho
Southwestern Idaho
South Central Idaho
Eastern Idaho

NORTHERN IDAHO – Benewah, Bonner, Boundary, Kootenai & Shoshone counties


  • Labor demand in northern Idaho declined slightly in October, but remained robust overall. In total, there were 1,734 job postings in northern Idaho in October, 2023, according to data from the Conference Board. In total there were 1,415 jobs posted in Kootenai County. The most in-demand occupation was retail salespersons, followed by registered nurses.

Top 10 occupations by job postings in northern Idaho, October 2023Top 10 occupations by job postings in northern Idaho, September 2023


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Re-employment (RESEA) interviews help people get back to work.

This blog was updated November 22, 2023 Action plan graphic

What is a Reemployment Services and Eligibility Assessment (RESEA)? 

A Reemployment Services and Eligibility Assessment is a required assessment designed to provide people who are unemployed with the support, tools and resources to help them return to work as quickly as possible.  If you are selected, you will be required to attend a mandatory appointment at your nearest Idaho Department of Labor office. Labor’s workforce consultants are employment experts dedicated to helping you find work by providing: 

  • individualized feedback.
  • resume help.
  • a work search plan.
  • free access to tools like Big Interview.
  • labor market information via JobScape.
  • ideas for seeking work and workshop information.

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Labor’s business seminars wrap up for the year with UI Tax Compliance


For Immediate Release: Nov. 21, 2023
Media Contact: Kandi.Rudd@labor.idaho.gov

Idaho businesses and employers are invited to learn about unemployment insurance (UI) tax compliance from the Idaho Department of Labor during a free Zoom seminar on Wednesday, Nov. 29 from 9 to 10:30 a.m. (MDT).

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Idahoans with disabilities source of workers for employers

Idaho’s population of people with a disability is estimated at 14.1% or 269,585, based on the 2022 American Community Survey released recently by the U.S. Census.

The number of Idahoans with disabilities who are of working age is estimated at 140,752 — a 12.5% share of the state’s total population — with an estimated 6.4% unemployment rate. This group has close to a 50% labor force participation rate, which means they are working or actively seeking work.

The unemployment rate for Idahoans with disabilities is double that of the state’s population in general, 3.1% for September 2023, while the current participation rate for Idaho’s workforce overall is 62%. This data provides important insight into a group of people seeking employment opportunities. In many cases, a reasonable accommodation by an employer to hire a worker with a disability can be minimal in cost and in other cases accommodation is not necessary at all, depending on the job duties.

Table: Idaho population with disabilities by southwestern counties

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Women in the transportation and trades featured in Apprenticeship Idaho webinar Nov. 16


For Immediate Release: Nov. 8, 2023
Media Contact: Gina.Robison@labor.idaho.gov

Those interested in exploring a career in transportation and trades can learn about how apprenticeships can help “earn while you learn” in a free webinar Nov.16, from 4:30 to 6 p.m. via Zoom.

The Idaho Department of Labor and the U.S. Department of Labor Women’s Bureau are partnering with Apprenticeship Idaho to host this event.

Apprenticeship is an alternative pathway to a meaningful career. It offers paid on-the-job training that can lead to a certificate or recognized credential. Women who pursue apprenticeship can attest to better-than-average pay, benefits and career advancement opportunities, according to recent research from the Urban Institute.

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Over 100 jobs available at Post Falls hiring event Nov. 15


For Immediate Release: Nov. 8, 2023
Media ContactTara.McKelvey@labor.idaho.gov

Estimates indicate there are currently 1,400 total job openings in Kootenai County. The top five industries hiring in northern Idaho include administrative and support services; ambulatory health care services; food service and drinking places; professional, scientific and technical services and insurance carriers and related services, according to Sam Wolkenhauer, Idaho Department of Labor regional economist.

Employers seeking workers for some of these positions will be meeting with job seekers at Labor’s Post Falls monthly hiring event Nov. 15. The event runs from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m at the Post Falls Labor office, 600 N. Thornton St.

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