Idaho’s February Unemployment Rate Down to 3.3%


For Immediate Release: March 26, 2021
Media Contacts: Craig Shaul, or Karen Jarboe Singletary,

 Year-to-year nonfarm employment growth of 1% leads nation

February’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 3.3%, down slightly from a revised 3.5% in January.

Idaho’s nonfarm payrolls edged upward by 1,200, leveling off after January’s gain of 4,500.

Civilian Labor Force

Idaho’s seasonally adjusted labor force remained virtually unchanged in February at 899,796, down from 900,205 in January.

The total number of working Idahoans increased by 912 in February to 870,056.

The number of unemployed Idahoans dropped 4.5% to 29,740.

February’s labor force participation rate – the percentage of people 16 years and older with jobs or looking for work – was 62.9%, down slightly from 63.1% in January.

Idaho’s labor force showed year-over-year gains, up 1.1% (+9,752 people) over February 2020. Total unemployment was 6,198 (+26.3%) higher than year-ago levels due to large pandemic-related job losses early in 2020. However, the number of Idahoans with jobs was up four-tenths of a percent (+3,554) over February 2020.

Nonfarm Jobs

An additional 1,200 nonfarm jobs brought February’s total to 781,300 (+0.2%). Only two industry sectors experienced modest job gains from January – trade, transportation and utilities (+0.7%) and education and health services (+0.8%). Five industry sectors were unchanged from January and four saw over-the-month declines totaling 700 jobs including manufacturing (-0.3%) and government (-0.2%).

Seasonally adjusted nonfarm jobs were up by 7,900 over February 2020, representing a year-over-year increase of 1%. Five industries showed job gains, led by construction (+8.2%), financial activities (+6.7%) and trade, transportation and utilities (+5.1%). The four industries hit hardest by pandemic job losses — information (-13.8%), other services (-6.0%), leisure and hospitality (-2.9%) and education and health services (-0.6%) — were below year-ago levels. Government also experienced a year-over-year loss of 1.4%.

All five of Idaho’s Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs) saw nonfarm job gains from January to February 2021. Coeur d’Alene saw the highest increase at 0.6%, followed by Pocatello (+0.5%).

Year-over-year, the Idaho Falls MSA saw the greatest job gains at 3.8%. Pocatello (+3.2%) and Coeur d’Alene (+2.3%) also experienced substantial gains, while Boise saw a slight increase. Lewiston experienced a 1% job loss over February 2020.

National Comparisons
Nationally, February’s unemployment rate dropped slightly, from 6.3% to 6.2%, with the number of unemployed decreasing by 158,000 to 10 million. Total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 379,000 to 143.0 million for February, but the number of employed nationwide was still 6.2% – or 9.5 million – below its pre-pandemic level in February of 2020.


Editors / News Directors – Preliminary county rates for January and February 2021 are included in this release. Revised rates will be released with 2020’s benchmarked county rates on April 16, 2021.

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 – preliminary Labor Force Data for January and February 2021

April 16, 2021:

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

The full release calendar for 2021 is available at