Idaho Unemployment Rate Falls to 4.2 Percent in August


For Immediate Release: Sept. 18, 2020
Media Contact: Craig Shaul, or Karen Jarboe Singletary,

– State recovers 7,000 nonfarm Jobs –

Idaho regained 7,000 nonfarm jobs in August and the state’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate fell from a revised rate of 5.1 percent in July to 4.2 percent – the third lowest rate in the nation.

Last month’s job gains left the state with an over-the-year decrease of 0.7 percent, making Idaho the least affected state in the nation for August job losses due to the economic disruption caused by COVID-19. Utah was second with a 1.8 percent decrease.

Idaho’s seasonally adjusted labor force, the number of people able, available and willing to work, decreased by 5,695 to 895,799 – less than its July record of 901,494 – but still nearly 1,200 above its pre-pandemic level in March.

The number of Idahoans holding jobs grew by 2,450 in August, pushing total employment to 858,356, while the number of people out of work fell by 8,145 to 37,443.

The state’s labor force participation rate– the percentage of people 16 years and older with jobs or looking for work – decreased from 64.2 percent in July to 63.7 percent.

August’s 7,000-job increase brought the state’s total nonfarm payrolls to 758,200, (+0.9 percent). All but two industry sectors showed some recovery, with the most significant job gains in natural resources (+2.7 percent), leisure and hospitality (+2 percent), other services (+2 percent) and manufacturing (+1.8 percent). Education and health services (-0.3 percent) and professional and business services (-0.2 percent) experienced small declines.

Year over year, Idaho’s labor force was up by 9,706 (+1.1 percent) from August 2019. Total employment was down by 1,998 (-0.2 percent) while the number of unemployed was up by 11,704 (+45.5 percent).

The 0.7 percent decline of seasonally adjusted nonfarm jobs represented an over-the-year loss of 5,500 jobs. Leisure and hospitality (-9.8 percent), information (-8.9 percent), education and health services (-3.8 percent) and other services (-3.4 percent) represent the four largest industry declines.

Three of Idaho’s five Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs) saw month-to-month nonfarm job growth from July to August 2020. Pocatello’s job gains of 2.3 percent exceeded the statewide average, while Idaho Falls experienced a slight decrease of 0.7 percent.

Over the year, Idaho Falls is the only MSA to show job gains at 4.5 percent. The remaining four MSAs continued to show job losses with Lewiston experiencing the largest decrease at 6.4 percent.

Regular unemployment insurance benefit payments were up from a weekly average of $980,400 one year ago to $4,075,800, while the number of claimants grew to 15,670 from a weekly average of 3,200 a year ago.

Nationally, the unemployment rate dropped to 8.4 percent, and the number of unemployed dropped by 2.8 million to 13.6 million. One year earlier, 6 million people were unemployed and the national unemployment rate was 3.7 percent.[]

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

For details on Idaho’s labor market, visit