Idaho’s December Unemployment Rate Unchanged at 2.6 Percent

News Release

For Immediate Release: Jan. 18, 2019
Information Contact: Craig Shaul (208) 332-3570 ext. 3201 or Karen Jarboe Singletary (208) 332-3570 ext. 3215

Idaho’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate remained unchanged at 2.6 percent in December – the 16th consecutive month the rate has been at or below 3 percent.

The state’s labor force – the total number of people age 16 years or older working or looking for work – increased slightly by two tenths of a percent from November, up 2,013 people to 856,337.

The number of people working increased by 1,823 for a total of 833,756, while the number of unemployed dropped by 190 to 22,581.

Idaho’s labor force participation rate remained unchanged at 63.4 percent.

Over the year, December’s statewide labor force increased 1.7 percent for a gain of 14,563, the number of people working increased 2.1 percent for a gain of 17,145 and there was a 10.3 percent decrease (-2,582) in the number of unemployed.

According to the Conference Board, a Washington, D.C., think tank, there were 22,785 online Idaho job openings in December compared with 25,788 a year ago. Of these postings, 6,283 were classified as hard-to-fill by department analysts, down from 6,843 in December 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 about 18 percent of all hard-to-fill online job openings.

Total nonfarm jobs increased slightly by 2,300 in December from November, up three tenths of a percent. Natural resources, construction and education and health services sectors met seasonal expectations with no over-the-month change. Manufacturing was below seasonal expectations with a 1 percent decline, a decrease of 700 jobs, while the remaining seven sectors had a combined increase of 3,000 jobs.

Over the year, total nonfarm jobs grew by 2 percent for a total increase of 14,500 jobs from December 2017. Natural resources showed no over-the-year growth, while information jobs declined by 600. Professional and business services (+6 percent), other services (+3.9 percent) and manufacturing (+3.2 percent) each had over-the-year percentage gains above 3 percent.

Idaho’s 2018 nonfarm jobs grew by an annual average rate of 2.9 percent to a total of 737,300, an increase from 2017. The rate of annual growth, however, was slower than the 3.3 percent annual average gain in 2017 and the 3.4 percent annual average gain in 2016.

Month to month, nonfarm job levels remained steady in all five of Idaho’s Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs). Lewiston declined slightly by 100 jobs while Boise (up 800), Coeur d’Alene (up 200), Idaho Falls (up 100) and Pocatello (up 200) all added jobs from November to December.

Over the year, Idaho’s five MSAs all experienced nonfarm payroll gains. Boise jobs grew by 2.9 percent (9,200 jobs), Coeur d’Alene jobs increased 3.9 percent (2,500), Idaho Falls jobs were up 1.7 percent (1,100 jobs), Lewiston jobs rose by 2.7 percent (800) and Pocatello jobs up 2.4 percent (900).

Annually, unemployment insurance benefit payments were down 6.6 percent from a weekly average of $2,264,000 one year ago to a weekly average of $2,115,000 for December 2018. The number of claimants decreased by 9.6 percent to 6,740 from a weekly average of 7,450 a year ago.

The national unemployment rate rose slightly by two-tenths of a point to 3.9 percent in December 2018. The number of unemployed increased by 276,000 to 6.3 million. A year earlier, the national unemployment rate was 4.1 percent, and the number of unemployed was 6.6 million. []

For details on Idaho’s labor market, visit


Editor’s Note:

February and March will have nonstandard release dates due to the annual Bureau of Labor Statistics benchmarking process. Benchmarking includes revisions to state labor force data – population, total employed, unemployed and the unemployment rate – based on new inputs and population data. Nonfarm jobs are benchmarked using reported employer data.

Upcoming Idaho Release Schedule:

Feb. 28, 2019:  State Labor Force Data 2010‐2018
March 11, 2019:  State Labor Force and Nonfarm Jobs Data for January 2019
March 22, 2019:   State Labor Force and Nonfarm jobs for February 2019 and
Sub-state – MSA, region, county and city – Labor Force Data for January 2019

The full release calendar for 2019 is available at