Idaho’s March Unemployment Rate Unchanged at 2.9 Percent

NEWS RELEASE

For Immediate Release: April 19, 2019
Information Contact: Craig Shaul (208) 332-3570 ext. 3201 or Karen Jarboe Singletary (208) 332-3570 ext. 3215

Third Fastest Rate in the Nation for Over-the-Year Job Growth

Idaho’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for March remained steady at 2.9 percent, the 16th consecutive month at or below 3 percent.

An additional 1,737 people entered the labor force from February to March, a slight 0.2 percent increase that pushed Idaho’s seasonally adjusted labor force number up to 868,263. The number of unemployed increased by 141, or 0.6 percent, to 24,918. Total employment increased by 1,596, up 0.2 percent to 843,345.

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.

Over the year, the March statewide labor force was up 16,797 (2 percent), total employment was up 16,931 (2 percent) and there were 134 (0.5 percent) fewer unemployed persons.

According to the Conference Board, a Washington, D.C., think tank, there were 21,466 online Idaho job openings in March compared with 23,541 a year ago. Of these postings, 6,076 were classified as hard-to-fill by department analysts, down from 6,448 in March 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.

Idaho nonfarm jobs increased by 1,900 (up 0.3 percent) for a monthly total of 751,100. The largest month-to-month industry job gains were in construction (+1.6 percent), information (+1.2 percent) and professional and business services (+0.9 percent). Trade, transportation and utilities, education and health services and government were the only three sectors that experienced job declines, shedding a combined total of 800 jobs.

Idaho’s seasonally adjusted nonfarm payroll jobs grew by 2.7 percent from March 2018 to March 2019 – the third fastest over-the-year job growth rate in the nation, representing a gain of 19,400 jobs. Four of Idaho’s industry sectors experienced job gains of three percent or greater over March of last year: 5.9 percent in professional and business services (5,500 jobs), 5.6 percent in other services (1,400 jobs), 4.2 percent in construction (2,000 jobs) and 3.3 percent in financial activities (1,200 jobs).

Among Idaho’s Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs), the Coeur d’Alene MSA was the fastest growing over-the-month with an increase of 0.4 percent or 300 jobs. The Boise MSA experienced the strongest seasonally adjusted over-the-year nonfarm growth in Idaho, adding 13,700 jobs (4.2 percent).

Annually, unemployment insurance benefit payments were up 13.3 percent from a weekly average of $2,084,900 a year ago to $2,362,800 for March 2019. The number of claimants increased by 6.5 percent to 7,147 from a weekly average of 6,711 a year ago.

The national unemployment rate remained unchanged at 3.8 percent in March 2019. The number of unemployed decreased by 24,000 from February to 6.2 million. A year earlier, the national unemployment rate was 4 percent, and the number of unemployed was 6.5 million. (https://www.bls.gov/news.release/empsit.nr0.htm)

Newly benchmarked labor force data for Idaho’s counties and cities can be found at https://lmi.idaho.gov/laus.

For details on Idaho’s labor market, visit lmi.Idaho.gov.

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