Idaho’s July Unemployment Rate Unchanged at 2.9 Percent


For Immediate Release: Aug. 17, 2018
Information Contact:  Craig Shaul (208) 332-3570 ext. 3201 or Robert Kabel (208) 332-3570 ext. 3886

Over-the-Year Job Growth Second in Nation Behind Utah

Idaho’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate remained at 2.9 percent in July, continuing at or below 3 percent for the 11th consecutive month.

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 1,086 people from June to July for a total of 852,714.

Total employment increased by 998 to 828,111, keeping pace with the state’s labor force growth, while the number of unemployed remained virtually unchanged at 24,603.

Idaho’s labor force participation declined one-tenth of a percentage point to 63.8 percent.

Over the year, statewide labor force change for July was up 18,645 (2.2 percent), total employment was up by 19,882 (2.5 percent) and there were 1,237 (4.8 percent) fewer unemployed persons.

According to the Conference Board, a Washington, D.C., think tank, there were 23,472 online Idaho job openings in July compared with 24,842 a year ago. Of these postings, 5,459 were classified as hard-to-fill by department analysts, down from 6,268 in July 2017. Hard-to-fill positions are those continuously posted for 90 days or more. Health care occupations, including physicians, surgeons, psychiatrists, occupational and physical therapists and support positions, represented about 16 percent of all hard-to-fill online job openings.

Total nonfarm jobs increased by 1,600 in July. Four industry sectors – leisure and hospitality; manufacturing; professional and business services; and government – all exceeded seasonal expectations for a combined increase of 2,400 jobs. The information sector remained unchanged. Six sectors – construction; education and health services; other services; trade, transportation and utilities; natural resources; and financial activities – each had slight over-the-month declines for a combined decrease of 800 jobs.

Year over year, the state continued to see strong job growth as employers increased payrolls. Total nonfarm jobs grew by 3.4 percent – for a total of 24,300 jobs – the second fastest growth rate in the nation in July. The construction and manufacturing sectors grew more than 5 percent, gaining a total of 5,800 jobs. The information sector declined by 100 over the year, while natural resources had no over-the-year growth.

Monthly job gains were reported for three of Idaho’s five Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs). Boise led the way with an increase of 900 jobs, while Coeur d’Alene and Idaho Falls each added 200 jobs. Lewiston saw a decrease of 200 jobs from June to July, while Pocatello’s nonfarm jobs were unchanged.

Over the year, Idaho’s five MSAs all experienced gains in nonfarm payroll employment. Boise added 11,500 jobs (3.5 percent), Coeur d’Alene added 2,500 jobs (3.9 percent), Idaho Falls added 1,900 jobs (2.4 percent), Pocatello added 1,100 jobs (3 percent) and Lewiston added 500 jobs (1.7 percent).

Annually, unemployment insurance benefit payments were down 12 percent from a weekly average of $1.2 million a year ago to $1 million weekly for July 2018. The number of claimants decreased by 13 percent to 3,630 from a weekly average of 4,170 a year ago.

Twenty-three of Idaho’s 44 counties had unemployment rates above the state rate in July. Five counties experienced rates at or above 5 percent: Clearwater at 7.1 percent, Lewis and Shoshone at 6.7 percent, Adams at 6.2 percent and Idaho at 5 percent. Madison County’s unemployment rate remained the lowest at 1.7 percent.

The national unemployment rate edged down by 0.1 percentage point to 3.9 percent. The number of unemployed persons declined by 284,000 to 6.3 million in July. Both measures were down over the year, by 0.4 percentage point and 676,000, respectively.

August 2018 labor force and nonfarm payroll data for Idaho will be released on Sept. 21.

For details on Idaho’s labor market, visit

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