Idaho’s November Unemployment Remains Steady at 2.9 Percent


For Immediate Release: Dec. 20, 2019
Information Contact: Craig Shaul (208) 332-3570 ext. 3201 or Robert Kabel (208) 332-3570 ext. 3886

State rate remains at or under 3 percent for two full years

Idaho’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate remained at 2.9 percent in November for the fifth consecutive month.

An additional 2,221 people made themselves available for work in November, pushing Idaho’s seasonally adjusted labor force up to 886,877. The number of unemployed increased by 146 to 25,880. Total employment grew by 2,075 to 860,997.

Idaho’s labor force participation rate – the percentage of people age 16 years or older working or looking for work – remained unchanged at 64.1 percent.

Over the year, November’s statewide labor force was up 24,330 (2.8 percent), total employment was up 22,174 (2.6 percent) and there were 2,156 more unemployed individuals. Seasonally-adjusted nonfarm jobs were up 2.7 percent from November 2018, a gain of 19,700 jobs. Professional and business services (7.2 percent) and financial activities (4.9 percent) showed the largest percentage gain while natural resources (-2.9 percent) and information (-2.3 percent) showed the largest percentage losses.

Online job listings reached 27,675 in November, up slightly from 27,195 a year ago, according to the Conference Board, a Washington, D.C., think tank. Of those, 8,636 openings were classified as hard-to-fill by department analysts, up from 7,810 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 21 percent of all hard-to-fill online openings.

Idaho nonfarm jobs increased by 2,700 (0.4 percent) from October to November for a total of 761,400. Eight of Idaho’s 11 industry sectors met or exceeded seasonal expectations. The largest over-the-month increases for November were other services up 2.7 percent and information up 2.4 percent. Three sectors fell short of seasonal expectations: natural resources (-2.9 percent), manufacturing (-1.1 percent) and construction (-0.2 percent).

Job growth for the Pocatello and Lewiston Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs) remained unchanged. The Coeur d’Alene MSA declined by 0.3 percent while Boise City (0.4 percent) and Idaho Falls (0.8 percent) showed monthly gains.

Unemployment insurance benefit payments were up 1.4 percent from a weekly average of $1,102,300 a year ago to $1,117,800 for November 2019. The number of claimants decreased by 3.7 percent to 3,399 from a weekly average of 3,530 a year ago.

Nationally, unemployment dropped one-tenth of a point to 3.5 percent in November. Total unemployed decreased by 43,000 from October for a total of 5.81 million people looking for work. One year earlier, the national unemployment rate was 3.7 percent, and the number of unemployed was about 6 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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