Idaho’s May Unemployment Rate Drops to 3%


For Immediate Release: June 18, 2021
Media Contact: Craig Shaul, or Salvador Vazquez,

Idaho’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate dropped from 3.1% in April to 3% for May.

Total employment grew to 874,143, up 0.2% (+1,978), while total unemployment dropped 3% (-865) to 27,351.

May’s labor force and steady participation rate continued to benefit from population increases. Idaho’s labor force grew by one-tenth of a percent to 901,494, marking two consecutive months of gains. The labor force participation rate remained unchanged at 62.7%.

Idaho’s nonfarm payroll jobs dipped to 782,700, down 0.2% (-1,900) from 784,600. Six industries saw significant job losses, including natural resources (-2.5%), construction (-1.2%), other services (-1.2%), leisure and hospitality (-0.5%), professional and business services (-0.4%), and trade, transportation, and utilities (-0.3%). Education and health services (+0.3%) and total government (+0.1%) were the only two industries showing job gains. Manufacturing, information and financial activities saw no change.

Two of Idaho’s five Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs) saw nonfarm job gains. Jobs in Idaho Falls grew by 0.3%, followed by Boise at 0.2%. Lewiston, Pocatello and Coeur d’Alene all showed job losses of -1%, -0.5% and -0.1% respectively.

Year over Year

May’s year-over-year labor market numbers continue to demonstrate the magnitude of Idaho’s rebound to recovery.

Total unemployment dropped 62.7% (-45,899) to 27,351 as out-of-work Idahoans returned to work, pushing the number of people working up 8.1% (65,148) to 874,143.

Idaho’s nonfarm jobs continue to show healthy over-the-year gains, up 8.9% (63,900), with every sector showing increases. Leisure and hospitality – the most affected industry during the pandemic – is 37% above where it was a year ago and has increased 4.1% above pre-pandemic levels in February of 2020.

All five of Idaho’s Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs) saw year-to-year nonfarm job gains greater than 7%. Coeur d’Alene jobs showed the greatest increase at 10.6%, followed by Idaho Falls (+9.7%), Pocatello (+8.9%), Boise (+8.7%) and Lewiston (+7.5%).

The state’s labor force – the only indicator that did not experience a sharp decline during the pandemic – also showed gains from May 2020, up 2.2% (+19,249) to 901,494.

National Comparisons

Nationally, May’s unemployment rate dropped from 6.1% to 5.8%, with the number of unemployed down 486,000 to 9.3 million. The nation’s labor force fell by 53,000 to 160.9 million. Total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 559,000 to 144.9 million.


Editors / News Directors – Details for Idaho’s labor market can be found at

Idaho’s 2021 BLS release calendar is available at