Idaho’s August Unemployment Rate Unchanged at 2.9 Percent


For Immediate Release: Sept. 20, 2019
Information Contact: Craig Shaul (208) 332-3570 ext. 3201 or Karen Jarboe Singletary (208) 332-3570 ext. 3215

Over-The-Year Nonfarm Job Growth Remains Strong

Idaho’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate remained at 2.9 percent in August, the 21st consecutive month at or below 3 percent.

An additional 2,815 people made themselves available for work in August, pushing Idaho’s seasonally adjusted labor force up to 879,220. The number of unemployed increased by 433 to 25,492. Total employment grew by 2,382 to 853,728.

Idaho’s labor force participation rate – the percentage of people age 16 years or older working or looking for work – was 64 percent.

Over the year, August’s statewide labor force was up 19,086 (2.2 percent), total employment was up 17,289 (2.1 percent) and there were 1,797 more unemployed workers. Seasonally-adjusted nonfarm jobs were up 2.1 percent from August 2018 representing a gain of 15,700 jobs. Three of Idaho’s industry sectors experienced job gains of three percent or greater: 6.3 percent in professional and business services (5,900 jobs), 4.1 percent in financial activities (1,500 jobs) and 3.8 percent in manufacturing (2,600 jobs).

Online job listings dropped to 28,556 in August compared with 29,299 a year ago, according to the Conference Board, a Washington, D.C., think tank. Of those, 6,883 openings were classified as hard-to-fill by department analysts, down from 6,998 a year ago. Hard-to-fill positions are posted for 90 days or more. Health care jobs, including physicians, surgeons, psychiatrists, occupational and physical therapists and support positions, represent roughly 20 percent of all hard-to-fill online openings.

Idaho nonfarm jobs decreased by 2,100 from July to August for a monthly total of 756,900. Seven of Idaho’s 11 industry sectors missed seasonal expectations, as seasonal industries began shedding summer jobs earlier or more quickly than expected. The largest declines were in construction (-1.2 percent), education and health services (-0.5 percent), professional and business services (-0.5 percent) and leisure and hospitality (-0.5 percent). Financial activities and government added a combined total of 700 jobs, while natural resources and information saw no change to employment levels.

Job growth for the Idaho Falls Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) was the fastest, up 0.9 percent or 600 jobs from July to August 2019. The Idaho Falls MSA also experienced the strongest seasonally adjusted over-the-year nonfarm percentage growth in Idaho, adding 2,900 jobs (4.3 percent).

Annually, unemployment insurance benefit payments were up 4.1 percent from a weekly average of $970,700 a year ago to $1,010,500 weekly for August 2019. The number of claimants decreased by 2.3 percent to 3,361 from a weekly average of 3,439 a year ago.

Nationally unemployment was unchanged at 3.7 percent in August. Total unemployed was down 19,000 from July for a total of 6 million people looking for work. A year earlier, the national unemployment rate was 3.8 percent, and the number of unemployed was 6.2 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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