Idaho’s May Unemployment Rate Unchanged at 2.8 Percent


For Immediate Release: June 21, 2019
Information Contact: Craig Shaul (208) 332-3570 ext. 3201 or Karen Jarboe Singletary (208) 332-3570 ext. 3215

Steady Nonfarm Job Growth Continues

Idaho’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate remained steady at 2.8 percent in May, the 18th consecutive month at or below 3 percent.

An additional 1,622 people made themselves available for work between April and May, pushing Idaho’s seasonally adjusted labor force up to 871,505. The number of unemployed decreased by 84 to 24,593. Total employment grew by 1,706 to 846,912.

Idaho’s labor force participation rate – the percentage of people age 16 years or older working or looking for work – remained at 63.8 percent for the sixth consecutive month, as job growth continued to match the increase of people seeking work.

Over the year, May’s statewide labor force was up 16,431 (1.9 percent), total employment was up 16,320 (2 percent) and there were 111 more unemployed. Seasonal nonfarm jobs were up 2.5 percent from May of 2018 representing a gain of 18,400 jobs. Four of Idaho’s industry sectors experienced job gains of three percent or greater: 6 percent in professional and business services (5,600 jobs), 5.1 percent in other services (1,300 jobs), 3.7 percent in construction (1,800 jobs) and 3.1 percent in manufacturing (2,100 jobs).

There were 29,497 online Idaho job openings in May compared with 30,166 a year ago, according to the Conference Board, a Washington, D.C., think tank. Of these postings, 5,777 were classified as hard-to-fill by department analysts, down from 7,004 a year ago. Hard-to-fill positions are continuously posted for 90 days or more. Health care jobs, including physicians, surgeons, psychiatrists, occupational and physical therapists and support positions, represent roughly 21 percent of all hard-to-fill online openings.

Idaho nonfarm jobs increased by 2,200 from April to May for a monthly total of 754,400. Professional and business services (+0.9 percent), manufacturing (+0.6 percent), education and health services (+0.5 percent), leisure and hospitality (+0.5 percent) and trade, transportation and utilities (+0.1 percent) all showed monthly industry job gains. The information sector was the only one to experience an over-the-month decrease, shedding 200 jobs, while employment levels in the remaining five industry sectors remained unchanged from April.

Job growth for the Lewiston Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) was the fastest, up 0.4 percent or 100 jobs from April to May 2019. The Idaho Falls MSA experienced the strongest seasonally adjusted over-the-year nonfarm growth in Idaho, adding 2,700 jobs (4 percent).

Annually, unemployment insurance benefit payments were up 14.2 percent from a weekly average of $1,047,500 a year ago to $1,195,700 weekly for May 2019. The number of claimants increased by 5.7 percent to 3,585 from a weekly average of 3,392 a year ago.

Nationally the unemployment rate was unchanged at 3.6 percent in May 2019, and total unemployed was up 64,000 from April for a total of 5.9 million people looking for work. A year earlier, the national unemployment rate was 3.8 percent, and the number of unemployed was 6.1 million. []

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

For details on Idaho’s labor market, visit

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