Idaho’s January Unemployment Rate Down to 3.4%


For Immediate Release: March 15, 2021
Media Contacts: Craig Shaul,, or Karen Jarboe Singletary,

Total nonfarm jobs up 1.1% over last year 

Idaho’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 3.4% in January, down slightly from a revised 3.8% rate for December, and well below April 2020’s revised historic high of 11.6%.

Revisions made to Idaho’s 2020 unemployment rate are the result of an annual benchmarking process conducted each year by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Civilian Labor Force

Idaho’s seasonally adjusted labor force went virtually unchanged in January at 900,205, up 1.1% (+10,015) over its revised pre-pandemic level in March of 2020.

The total number of working Idahoans increased by 3,513 in January to 869,162, up 0.4%.

Unemployed Idahoans dropped 10.3% to 31,043.

January’s labor force participation rate – the percentage of people 16 years and older with jobs or looking for work – was 63.1%, down 0.1 percentage points from December.

Idaho’s labor force continued to show year-over-year gains, up 1.2% (+10,261 people) from January 2020. Total unemployment remained 8,216 (+36%) higher than year-ago levels due to the large pandemic-related job losses early in 2020. However, the number of Idahoans with jobs was up two-tenths of a percent (+2,045) over January 2020, indicating that the pace of job growth had recovered following the pandemic’s slowdown.

Nonfarm Jobs

An additional 4,500 nonfarm jobs brought January’s total to 780,900 (+0.6%), exceeding the state’s benchmarked pre-pandemic peak of 773,400 jobs. Six industry sectors experienced some job gains from December, with construction (+3.3%), natural resources (+2.7%), government (+1.5%) and financial activities (+1.5%) showing the greatest gains. Information (-1.4%) and other services (-0.8%) saw the largest over-the-month declines.

Seasonally adjusted nonfarm jobs were up by 8,300 over January 2020, representing a year-over-year increase of 1.1% despite the pandemic-related job losses seen in April 2020. Five industries showed job gains, led by construction (+8.6%), financial activities (+6.7%) and trade, transportation and utilities (+4%). The four industries hit hardest by pandemic job losses — information (-13.8%), other services (-6.3%), leisure and hospitality (-1.7%) and education and health services (-1.2%) — were below benchmarked year-ago levels. Government also experienced a year-over-year loss of 1%.

Four of Idaho’s five Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs) saw nonfarm job gains from December 2020 to January 2021. Pocatello saw the highest increase at 0.8%, followed by Coeur d’Alene (+0.4%), Boise (+0.3%) and Idaho Falls (+0.1%). Lewiston experienced a decline of 1.4%.

Year-over-year, the Idaho Falls MSA had the greatest job gains at 2.8%. Benchmarking revisions contributed to a 1.9% increase for Coeur d’Alene and 1.3% rise in jobs for Pocatello. Boise saw a slight increase of 0.2%. Lewiston experienced a 2.4% job loss over January 2020.

National Comparisons
Nationally, January’s unemployment rate dropped 0.4 percentage points to 6.3%, with the number of unemployed decreasing by 606,000 to 10.1 million. Total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 49,000 to 142.7 million in January, but it was still 6.5% below its pre-pandemic February 2020 level by 9.9 million.


Editors / News Directors – Idaho’s county rates for January and February 2021 will be included in the February employment release scheduled for Friday, March 26.

For details on Idaho’s labor market, visit

Upcoming Idaho Release Schedule:
March 26, 2021

  • State Labor Force and Nonfarm jobs for February 2021
  • Sub-state – MSA, region, county and city – Labor Force Data for January and February 2021

April 16, 2021:

  • State and sub-state Labor Force and Nonfarm jobs for March 2021 Benchmarked sub-state Labor Force data for 2010-2020

The full release calendar for 2021 is available at