Idaho’s February Unemployment Rate Up Slightly to 2.9 Percent


For Immediate Release:March 22, 2019

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

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

Idaho’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for February increased slightly from January to 2.9 percent, the 15th consecutive month at or below 3 percent.

Idaho nonfarm jobs increased by 3,600 (up 0.5 percent) for a monthly total of  750,600. February’s increase was the fastest job growth rate in the nation and the second-largest statistically significant job increase added by any state.

The largest month-to-month industry job gains were in professional and business services (+2.3 percent), manufacturing (+1.3 percent) and education and health services (+0.7 percent). Construction, information and leisure and hospitality were the only three sectors that experienced job declines, shedding a total of 1,400 jobs.

Among Idaho’s Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs), the Boise MSA was the fastest growing with an increase of 1 percent or 3,500 jobs.

Labor force data for Idaho’s counties and cities can be found at

An additional 2,218 people entered the labor force from January to February, a slight increase that pushed Idaho’s seasonally adjusted labor force number up to 866,633. The number of unemployed increased by 408 to 24,779 while the total number of people working increased by 1,810 for total employment of 841,854.

Idaho’s labor force participation rate – the percentage of people age 16 years or older working or looking for work – increased one tenth of a percent to 63.9 percent.

According to the Conference Board, a Washington, D.C., think tank, there were 24,701 online Idaho job openings in February compared with 27,189 a year ago. Of these postings, 6,629 were classified as hard-to-fill by department analysts, down from 6,908 in February 2018. Hard-to-fill positions are those continuously posted for 90 days or more. Health care occupations, including physicians, surgeons, psychiatrists, occupational and physical therapists and support positions, represented about 22 percent of all hard-to-fill online job openings.

Over the year, February’s statewide labor force was up 17,063 (2 percent), total employment was up 17,552 (2.1 percent) and there were 489 (1.9 percent) fewer unemployed persons.

Idaho’s seasonally adjusted nonfarm payroll employment grew by 2.5 percent from February 2018 to February 2019 – a gain of 18,600 jobs. Three of Idaho’s industry sectors experienced job gains of three percent or greater over February of last year: 5.2 percent in professional and business services (4,800 jobs), 5.1 percent in other services (1,300 jobs) and 3.6 percent in financial activities (1,300 jobs).

The Boise MSA experienced the strongest seasonally adjusted over-the-year nonfarm growth in Idaho, adding 14,000 jobs (4.3 percent).

Annually, unemployment insurance benefit payments were up 9 percent from a weekly average of $2,805,000 a year ago to $3,056,000 weekly for February 2019. The number of claimants increased by 2.8 percent to 9,320 from a weekly average of 9,069 a year ago.

The national unemployment rate decreased slightly by two-tenths of a point to 3.8 percent in February 2019. The number of unemployed decreased by 300,000 to 6.2 million. A year earlier, the national unemployment rate was 4.1 percent, and the number of unemployed was 6.7 million. []

For details on Idaho’s labor market, visit

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