Idaho Unemployment Falls to 5.6 Percent in June


For Immediate Release: July 17, 2020
Media Contact: Craig Shaul, or Karen Jarboe Singletary,

Nonfarm Jobs Recover 3.5 Percent

Idaho’s nonfarm payrolls regained 24,800 jobs and the state’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate fell to 5.6 percent as the state’s economy continued to reopen.

June’s unemployment rate dropped 3.4 percentage points from a revised rate of 9 percent in May and down from April’s historic high of 11.8 percent. Previous peak unemployment rates include 10.2 percent for December of 1982 and 9.6 percent for June of 2016 – the Great Recession peak.

The number of unemployed Idahoans fell by 28,961 to 50,267 as total employment recovered by 38,885 to 841,898, up 4.8 percent from May.

Idaho’s seasonally adjusted labor force increased by 9,924 to 892,165, after decreasing by nearly 12,400 over the previous two months. June’s gains put the labor force about 2,500 below its pre-pandemic level in March.

June’s labor force participation rate – the percentage of people 16 years and older with jobs or looking for work – increased to 63.7 percent, from a revised 63.1 percent in May.

Idaho nonfarm payrolls increased by 24,800 jobs, up 3.5 percent to 736,300 for June, with the last two months of job gains returning Idaho nonfarm jobs to 2018 levels.

All but three industry sectors experienced some recovery in June, with the most significant gains concentrated in sectors with over-the-month increases of 11 percent or more – leisure and hospitality (+23.8 percent) and other services (+11.1 percent). Natural resources, construction and manufacturing experienced small declines.

Year over year, the total number of Idahoans with jobs dropped 1.6 percent (-13,722) while the number of unemployed increased by 24,380 (+94.2 percent). Idaho’s labor force continued to show over-the-year gains, up 10,658 people (+1.2 percent) from June 2019.

Seasonally adjusted nonfarm jobs were down 3 percent representing an over-the-year loss of 22,900 jobs.

The four largest industry declines were in leisure and hospitality (-12.6 percent), other services (-10.7 percent), information (-9 percent) and government (-5.5 percent).

All of Idaho’s five Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs) saw nonfarm job gains from May to June 2020. Job increases in two MSAs exceeded the statewide average – Pocatello (+5.8 percent) and Boise (+4.1 percent), with the remaining MSAs reporting job gains between two and three percent.

Year over year, four Idaho MSAs experienced job declines. Lewiston experienced the largest over-the-year job loss at 10.6 percent, while the Idaho Falls MSA saw a modest gain of 3.3 percent.

Annually, unemployment insurance benefit payments were up 843 percent from a weekly average of $1,101,000 one year ago to a weekly average of $10,396,000 for June 2020. The number of claimants increased 1,083 percent to 42,102 from a weekly average of 3,558 one year ago.

Nationally, unemployment declined to 11.1 percent, with the number of unemployed dropping by 3.2 million to 17.8 million.  One year earlier, the national unemployment was 3.7 percent and the number of unemployed was 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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