Idaho’s January Unemployment Rate Steady at 2.8 Percent

News Release

For Immediate Release: March 11, 2019
Information Contact: Craig Shaul, (208) 332-3570 ext. 3201 or Karen Jarboe Singletary (208) 332-3570 ext. 3215

Third Fastest in the Nation for Over-the-Month Job Growth

Idaho’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for January was 2.8 percent – the third consecutive month at this rate and the 14th consecutive month at or below 3 percent following the benchmarking of 2018 estimates.


The slight increase of Idaho’s seasonally adjusted over-the-month nonfarm payroll jobs was the third fastest in the nation – increasing by 4,500 in January to 746,800.


The biggest month-to-month industry job gains, all at or above 1 percent, were in construction, manufacturing, other services, financial activities, education and health services, and leisure and hospitality. Information and government were the only two sectors that experienced job declines.

Among Idaho’s Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs), month over month, the Coeur d’Alene MSA was the fastest growing at 1.4 percent growth or 900 jobs.


An additional 2,052 people entered the workforce from December to January, pushing Idaho’s seasonally adjusted labor force number up to 864,446. Total employment increased by 1,438 to 840,074, and the number of unemployed increased by 614 to 24,372.  


January’s labor force participation rate – the percentage of people 16 years and older with jobs or looking for work – remained unchanged from December at 63.8 percent.


According to the Conference Board, a Washington, D.C. think tank, there were more than 22,100 online postings for Idaho jobs in January. Of those postings, 6,600 were classified by department analysts as hard-to-fill. Health care jobs accounted for 21 percent and included physicians, surgeons, psychiatrists, occupational and physical therapists and support positions. By volume, retail salespersons and registered nurses were first and second respectively for the largest number of hard-to-fill jobs.


Over the year, the statewide labor force in January was up 16,727 (2 percent), total employment was up 17,805 (2.2 percent) and there were 1,078 (4.2 percent) fewer unemployed persons.


Idaho’s seasonally adjusted nonfarm payroll employment grew by 2.4 percent from January 2018 to January 2019 – a gain of 17,300 jobs. Three of Idaho’s major industry sectors experienced job gains of four percent or greater over January 2018: 6.9 percent in construction (3,300 jobs), 5.1 percent in other services (1,300 jobs) and 4 percent in professional and business services (3,700 jobs).


Boise experienced the strongest seasonally adjusted over-the-year nonfarm job growth of 12,200 jobs (3.7 percent).


Annually, unemployment insurance benefit payments were down 18.5 percent from a weekly average of $3,557,700 a year ago to $2,899,900 weekly for January 2019. The number of claimants decreased by 22.6 percent to 8,962 from a weekly average of 11,586 a year ago.


Idaho’s county rates for January and February of 2019 will be included in the February employment release scheduled for Friday, March 22.

Details on Idaho’s unemployment picture can be found at

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