Idaho’s April Unemployment Rate Unchanged at 2.9 Percent


For Immediate Release: May 18, 2018
Information Contact: Karen Jarboe Singletary (208) 332-3570 ext. 3215 and Craig Shaul (208) 332-3570 ext. 3201

April Marks Fourth Month in Top Two in the Nation for Over-the-Year Job Growth

Idaho’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate remained at 2.9 percent in April, continuing an eight-month run at or below 3 percent.

The state’s labor force – the total number of people 16 years of age and older working or looking for work – continued to increase, gaining 1,242 people from March to April for a total of 849,373.

Total employment increased by 1,350 to 824,811, keeping pace with the state’s labor force growth, while the number of unemployed dropped by 108 to 24,562.

Idaho’s labor force participation rate held steady at 64 percent for the fourth consecutive month.

Over the year, statewide labor force for April was up 22,172 (2.7 percent), total employment was up by 24,675 (3.1 percent) and there were 2,503 (9.2 percent) fewer unemployed people.

According to the Conference Board, a Washington, D.C., think tank, there were 24,785 online Idaho job openings in April compared with 25,337 a year ago. Of these postings, 4,957 were classified as hard-to-fill, up from 4,932 in April 2017. Hard-to-fill positions are continuously posted for 90 days or more. Health care occupations, including physicians, surgeons, psychiatrists, occupational and physical therapists and support positions, represented about 21 percent of all hard-to-fill online job openings.

Total nonfarm jobs increased by 900 in April. Four industry sectors – trade, transportation and utilities; professional and business services; education and health services; and leisure and hospitality – all exceeded seasonal expectations. Five sectors – construction, information, financial activities, other services, and government – decreased by a total of 800 jobs from March, while natural resources and manufacturing employment remained unchanged.

Year-over-year, the state continued to see strong job growth. Total nonfarm jobs grew by 3.3 percent for a total of 23,500 jobs – the second fastest growth rate in the nation. Natural resources jobs led the way with the largest percentage growth of Idaho’s industry sectors at 12.1 percent, while education and health services saw the most jobs added over last year at 4,300 – an increase of 4.2 percent. The remaining top five growth industries were construction at 7.9 percent, financial activities at 4 percent and manufacturing and leisure and hospitality tied at 3.9 percent.

Monthly job gains were reported for three of Idaho’s Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs) – Boise (+500), Coeur d’Alene (+300) and Lewiston (+200). Pocatello’s employment level remained unchanged, and Idaho Falls experienced a loss of 100 jobs.

Over the year, Idaho’s five MSAs all experienced gains in nonfarm payroll employment. Boise added 11,300 jobs, Idaho Falls added 1,800 jobs, Coeur d’Alene added 1,600 jobs, Pocatello added 1,300 jobs and Lewiston added 700 jobs.

Annually, unemployment insurance benefit payments were down nearly 25 percent – from a weekly average of $1.9 million a year ago to a $1.4 million weekly average for April 2018. The number of claimants decreased by 27 percent to 4,500 from a weekly average of 6,100 a year ago.

Twenty-three of Idaho’s 44 counties had unemployment rates above the state rate in April. Seven counties experienced rates at or above 5 percent: Clearwater at 7.5 percent, Benewah at 5.9 percent, Lewis and Shoshone at 5.6 percent, Adams at 5.5 percent, Boundary at 5.2 percent and Idaho at 5.1 percent. Madison County’s unemployment rate remained the lowest at 1.7 percent.

Nationally, April’s unemployment rate was 3.9 percent, a decrease of two-tenths of a percentage point after six consecutive months at 4.1 percent. Total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 164,000. Labor force participation decreased slightly to 62.8 percent.

May’s 2018 labor force and nonfarm payroll data for Idaho will be released on June 15.

For details on Idaho’s labor market, visit