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.