Idaho’s October Unemployment Rate Holds at 2.7 Percent


For Immediate Release: Nov. 16, 2018
Information Contact: Craig Shaul (208) 332-3570 ext. 3201 or Karen Jarboe Singletary (208) 332-3570 ext. 3215

Idaho’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate stayed at 2.7 percent in October, unchanged from September and continuing at or below 3 percent for the 14th consecutive month.

The state’s labor force – the total number of people 16 years of age and older working or looking for work – was essentially unchanged since July at 853,444.

Total employment increased by 853 to 830,616 while the number of unemployed people decreased by 454 to 22,828.

Idaho’s labor force participation decreased slightly to 63.5 percent.

Over the year, October’s statewide labor force was up 1.4 percent (11,587), total employment was up 1.7 percent (13,890) and 9.2 percent (2,303) fewer people were unemployed.

Online Idaho job openings increased 5.3 percent to 21,714 in October compared with 20,613 a year ago. Of these postings, 5,406 were classified as hard-to-fill by department analysts, down from 5,548 in October 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 the largest share of all hard-to-fill online job openings at 17 percent.

Total nonfarm payroll growth remained essentially flat in October, increasing by 600 jobs (0.1 percent) from September. Natural resources, construction, professional and business services, education and health services, government and other services sectors experienced greater-than-expected changes. Manufacturing, trade and transportation, information, financial activities, and leisure and hospitality experienced job losses.

Year over year, Idaho’s job growth remained strong. Total nonfarm jobs were up 2.1 percent for a total of 15,300 jobs. Every industry sector showed continued growth except for information, which had 400 fewer jobs compared with the previous year. The fastest movers in adding jobs were natural resources at 5.7 percent closely followed by manufacturing with 4.9 percent growth and construction increasing 4.3 percent.

Nonfarm job levels remained steady for all five of Idaho’s Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs). Coeur d’Alene and Pocatello each saw an increase of 100 jobs, while job totals in Boise, Idaho Falls and Lewiston remained unchanged from September.

Over the year, Idaho’s five MSAs were all showing gains in nonfarm payroll employment. Boise jobs were up 2.7 percent (8,500 jobs), Coeur d’Alene jobs were up 3.9 percent (2,500 jobs), Idaho Falls jobs were up 1.5 percent (1,000 jobs), Lewiston’s job growth was up 2.8 percent (800 jobs) and Pocatello’s nonfarm payrolls were up 1.6 percent (600 jobs).

Annually, unemployment insurance benefit payments were down 11.4 percent from a weekly average of $999,000 a year ago to $886,000 for October 2018. The number of claimants was down by 13 percent to 2,800 from a weekly average of 3,200 a year ago.

Twenty-two of Idaho’s 44 counties had unemployment rates above the state rate in October. Four counties experienced rates at or above 5 percent: Clearwater at 6.5 percent, Shoshone at 5.4 percent, Lewis at 5.1 percent and Adams at 5 percent. Madison County’s unemployment rate remained the lowest at 1.8 percent.

October’s national unemployment rate was 3.7 percent, unchanged from September, while the number of unemployed increased by 111,000 to 6.1 million. []

November 2018 labor force and nonfarm payroll data for Idaho will be released on Dec. 21.

For details on Idaho’s labor market, visit

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