Monthly Archives: December 2018

Demystifying Idaho’s Unemployment Rate

Idaho’s seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate was 2.6 percent for November 2018, the most recent data available. This is the 15th consecutive month that Idaho’s rate has been at or below the low rate of 3 percent. But what does 3 percent employment mean? Three percent of what?

The answer to what the unemployment rate means and how it’s determined is best understood within the context of the numbers that are also reported with it each month. The unemployment rate is a figure that measures the unemployed segment of the labor force, which is itself a subgroup of the civilian population and one of a few terms that describe different states of people in the population and their relationship with work and the economy.

The major subgroups of the larger civilian population include the labor force, employed and unemployed. The relationship among these various groups provide the basic measures of the participation rate and unemployment rate.

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Federal Shutdown: Idaho Unemployment Insurance Benefits

This blog post was updated Jan. 29, 2019

Question: I am a federal worker who has been furloughed. Am I eligible for unemployment?

Answer: Yes. You are considered laid off due to lack of work and you need to meet personal and monetary eligibility. However as a federal employee, you also need to be aware of several unintended consequences of applying for unemployment insurance benefits.

Before you apply, please consider the following:

  • You will not receive your first unemployment insurance payment for approximately three weeks after you file for benefits.
  • If the federal government compensates you or back pays you for the work you missed during the furlough (as it has historically), you will be required to disclose your payment information to the department and repay any unemployment insurance benefits you collect during that time.
  • You are required to seek work and make at least two job contacts per week.

Q. Once the shutdown is over, if the federal government back pays us for our time away from work, is this income reportable? If so, how should I report my income?

A. Yes. If you receive your back pay, call us at (208) 332-8942 and let us know.

Q. Once the shutdown is over, if the federal government back pays us for our time away from work, do I have to repay benefits?

A. Yes. For unemployment insurance purposes, any back pay you receive from the federal government is reportable income for the weeks you are furloughed and will result in an overpayment of benefits. Please be aware that unpaid overpayments accrue interest of about 11 percent after 30 days from the overpayment establishment. If you have an outstanding overpayment balance, the department will seize your state tax refund, potentially delaying your refund. If your overpayment balance exceeds $350, you must contact us at (208) 332-3842 to set up a repayment agreement that does not exceed three months to avoid a lien being filed against you.

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Idaho Volunteers to be Recognized at Brightest Stars Ceremony


For Immediate Release: Dec. 21, 2018
Information Contact:Renee Bade, (208) 332-3578 ext. 4061

Volunteers across Idaho will be honored at the Idaho Brightest Stars award ceremony Jan. 16, 2019, in the Simplot Ballroom at Boise State University’s Student Union Building, 1700 University Drive, in Boise.

Serve Idaho, the Governor’s Commission on Service and Volunteerism, will hand out awards in seven categories to honor Idahoans who volunteered in 2018. The ceremony, open to the public, begins at 6 p.m.

Idahoans throughout the state submitted nominations and a panel of community reviewers made the final selection. The award categories for outstanding volunteer service are individual, business, student, senior citizen, teacher/professor, nonprofit/civic organization and veteran.

This event is one way Serve Idaho recognizes the considerable time and effort Idahoans contribute to making their communities better.

Award winners from last year’s Idaho’s Brightest Stars can be found at

For more information on the event or to find volunteer opportunities near you, visit


Serve Idaho, a division of the Idaho Department of Labor, encourages voluntary public service and volunteerism throughout the state. The Serve Idaho Commission is funded in part by the Corporation for National and Community Service and the Idaho Department of Labor.

Idaho’s November Unemployment Rate Down Slightly to 2.6 Percent

For Immediate Release: Dec. 21, 2018

Information Contacts: Craig Shaul (208) 332-3570 ext. 3201 or Karen Jarboe Singletary (208) 332-3570 ext. 3215

Idaho’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 2.6 percent in November, down slightly from October and continuing at or below 3 percent for the 15th consecutive month.

The state’s labor force – the total number of people 16 years of age and older working or looking for work – was 854,243, increasing by 0.1 percent and essentially unchanged since July.

Total employment increased by 1,198 to 831,851, while the number of unemployed people decreased by 433 to 22,392.

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Idaho’s Standard Unemployment Insurance Tax Rate Drops 6.6% for 2019


For Immediate Release: Dec. 17, 2018

Information Contacts: Georgia Smith (208) 332-3570 x 2102 or Salvador Vazquez, (208) 332‐3570 ext. 3218

Idaho’s growing economy, a consistent decrease in layoffs and a solvent Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund are all contributing to a 6.6 percent decrease in unemployment insurance tax rates for 2019.

The state’s base unemployment insurance tax rate – used to calculate taxes existing Idaho employers pay will drop from 0.94 percent in 2018 to 0.878 for 2019. A new employer in Idaho will start with a tax rate of 1.0 percent – the lowest rate allowed by federal conformity requirements.

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Census Bureau Releases New Data on Idaho Cities, Towns from 2013-2017

American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates

Idaho’s slight increase in the workforce, a rise in median household income, an increase in median gross rent and a decrease in the number of persons living below the poverty level are just a few of the many statistics released this week by the U.S. Census Bureau.

The Census Bureau’s 2013–2017 American Community Survey produces a rolling sample of estimates on more than 40 social, economic and housing characteristics for U.S. cities, towns, counties and other geographies, regardless of their population size. It is the only source for comprehensive data for 38 of Idaho’s 44 counties and 198 incorporated cities.

Narrative profiles offering short analytic reports on all 40 sets of data for the nation, states, counties, places and census tracts can be accessed from the U.S. Census website at

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Around Idaho: Economic Activity in November 2018

Information provided in this article 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

Kootenai County

  • Kootenai County has started construction on a new transit center in the Riverstone development in Coeur d’Alene. The transit center will be located on a four-acre parcel, which is owned jointly by the county and the Coeur d’Alene Tribe. The center is expected to open in the summer of 2019. Source: Spokane Journal of Business
  • Construction has started on a new medical building in Hayden. The $2 million facility will house a new office of the North Idaho Eye Institute, which also has offices in Coeur d’Alene and Post Falls. Source: Spokane Journal of Business
  • The Coeur d’Alene Casino Resort Hotel has begun a $15 million renovation project, which involves an update and improvement of both the gaming and entertainment facilities at the casino. A spokesperson for the casino said the improvements would be completed by March of 2019. Source: Spokane Journal of Business

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Explore Careers that Bring Ideas from Prototype to Market

Some of the best paying and best prospective occupations in Idaho are associated with bringing ideas into reality – creating prototypes and manufacturing the product for the market.

Domingo Angeles from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics provides a national perspective on these occupations and their outlook. While Angeles uses the design and manufacture of automobiles as his example, Idaho companies engaged in the manufacturing and design of all manner of products pull together the same mix of occupations to staff the teams that put in the hard, collaborative work to bring ideas to market.

In Angeles’ article, he identified careers related to developing prototypes include software developers, graphic designers, mechanical and electrical engineers and industrial designers. Table 1 provides employment, wage, projected openings and typical education levels for each occupation on a national level.

Table 1a shows similar data for Idaho.

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