Idaho’s September Unemployment Rate Stays at 2.9%


For Immediate Release: Oct. 22, 2021
Media Contact: Craig Shaul, or Karen Jarboe Singletary,

Idaho map - unemployment rate by county September 2021Idaho’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 2.9% in September, unchanged from August.

The state’s labor force grew by 1,270 (0.1%) people to 906,191. This is the second largest over-the-month increase this year. Despite this increase, the labor force participation rate decreased by 0.1 percentage points to 62.4%.

Total employment grew to 880,283, up 0.2% (1,917), while total unemployment dropped 2.4% (-647) to 25,908.

In September, Idaho’s nonfarm payroll jobs decreased to 785,200, down 0.6% (-4,400) from 789,600 in August. Industries showing job losses included private education services (-5.8%); state government (-4%); transportation, warehousing and utilities (-2.8%); local government (-1.7%); health care and social services (-1.4%); financial activities (-1.2%); other services (-1.1%); retail trade (-0.4%); and manufacturing (-0.4%).

Industries that experienced solid growth included information (5.3%); arts, entertainment and recreation (3.7%); and construction (1.9%). Other industries showing growth were accommodation and food services (1%) and professional and business services (0.1%).

Idaho Falls led the state’s Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs) in over-the-month nonfarm job growth (0.5%), followed by Pocatello (0.3%), and Coeur d’Alene (0.1%). Boise and Lewiston experienced nonfarm job losses of 2% and 0.7%, respectively.


The state’s labor force showed a net loss from September 2020, down 0.3% (-2,408) to 906,191.

Total unemployment dropped 52.7% (-28,941) from September 2020 to 25,908 as out-of-work Idahoans returned to work, pushing the number of people working up 3.1% (26,533) to 880,283.

Idaho’s nonfarm jobs total increased 3.0% (22,600) compared with September 2020 and is 1.5% above its February 2020 pre-pandemic peak.

Every major sector showed increases except for federal government, manufacturing and private educational services which decreased by 5%, 1.6% and 1.3% respectively. Leisure and hospitality – the most adversely affected industry during the pandemic – was 12.6% above where it was one year ago.

All five of Idaho’s MSAs saw year-over-year nonfarm job gains. Pocatello showed the greatest increase at 5.5%, followed by Coeur d’Alene (4.5%), Idaho Falls (4.1%), Lewiston (2.5%) and Boise (2%).

National Comparisons

Nationally, the unemployment rate saw a solid drop from 5.2% in August to 4.8% in September, with the number of unemployed down 655,000 to 7.7 million. The nation’s labor force decreased by 183,000 to 161.3 million. Total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 194,000 to 147.5 million.


Idaho’s 2021 BLS release calendar is available at

September 2021 Idaho Labor Force Data table