Idaho’s September Unemployment Rate Decreases to 2.7 Percent

NEWS RELEASE

For Immediate Release: Oct. 19, 2018
Information Contact: Karen Jarboe Singletary (208) 332-3570 ext. 3215 or Craig Shaul (208) 332-3570 ext. 3201

Idaho’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate declined slightly to 2.7 percent in September, continuing at or below 3 percent for the 13th consecutive month.

The state’s labor force – the total number of people 16 years of age and older working or looking for work – was 853,076 people, essentially unchanged since July.

Total employment increased by 885 to 829,793 while the number of unemployed people decreased by 729 to 23,283.

Idaho’s labor force participation declined one-tenth of a percentage point to 63.6 percent as Idaho’s total population outpaced labor force growth.

Over the year, the statewide labor force in September was up 13,286 (1.6 percent), total employment was up by 15,293 (1.9 percent) and there were 2,007 (7.9 percent) fewer unemployed persons.

According to the Conference Board, a Washington, D.C., think tank, there were 23,482 online Idaho job openings in September compared with 21,444 a year ago. Of these postings, 5,897 were classified as hard-to-fill by department analysts, up from 5,261 in September 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 15 percent of all hard-to-fill online job openings.

Total nonfarm jobs decreased by 1,000 in September. The Information and Government industry sectors met seasonal expectations with no change. Four industry sectors – Manufacturing; Financial Activities; Professional and Business Services; Trade, Transportation and Utilities – exceeded seasonal expectations for a combined increase of 900 jobs. The remaining five sectors – Natural Resources; Construction; Education and Health Services; Leisure and Hospitality; Other Services – had a combined decline of 1,900 jobs.

Year over year, the state continued to see strong job growth. Total nonfarm jobs grew by 2.7 percent for a total of 19,200 jobs. The Construction and Manufacturing sectors grew more than 5 percent, gaining a total of 5,900 jobs. All other sectors saw some over-the-year gain, except for Natural Resources and Information, which remained unchanged.

Monthly job losses were reported for four of Idaho’s five Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs). Boise and Coeur d’Alene each saw a decrease of 200 jobs, while Idaho Falls and Pocatello each experienced a loss of 100 jobs. Lewiston’s nonfarm jobs were up by 300 jobs from August to September.

Over the year, Idaho’s five MSAs all experienced gains in nonfarm payroll employment. Boise added 9,800 jobs (3.1 percent), Coeur d’Alene added 1,900 jobs (3 percent), Idaho Falls added 1,400 jobs (2.1 percent), Lewiston added 1,100 jobs (3.8 percent) and Pocatello added 700 jobs (1.9 percent).

Annually, unemployment insurance benefit payments were down 9 percent from a weekly average of $891,200 a year ago to $811,400 weekly for September 2018. The number of claimants decreased by 11 percent to 2,600 from a weekly average of 2,900 a year ago.

The national unemployment rate declined by 0.2 percent to 3.7 percent in September, and the number of unemployed persons decreased by 270,000 to 6 million. Over the year, the unemployment rate and the number of unemployed persons declined by 0.5 percent and 795,000, respectively. [https://www.bls.gov/news.release/empsit.nr0.htm]

October 2018 labor force and nonfarm payroll data for Idaho will be released on Nov. 16.

For details on Idaho’s labor market, visit lmi.Idaho.gov.

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