Idaho’s Private Sector Showed Net Job Gains in First Quarter 2021

Idaho private sector job gains exceeded job losses, yielding a net employment gain of 16,217 jobs during the first quarter of 2021.

From December 2020 to March 2021, gross job gains in Idaho totaled 53,979 while gross job losses totaled 37,762.

Figure 1

Graphic of job gains and losses in Idaho 2011-2021 by number

According to the U.S. Business Employment Dynamic (BED) report, both gross job gains and gross job losses declined in Idaho from fourth quarter 2020 (Figure 1).

The BED report, produced by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, covers job gains and losses at private sector firms and identifies whether the change is due to businesses opening or closing, or increases and decreases in employment at existing firms.

BED data are derived from the BLS Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages, which includes all establishments covered under state and federal unemployment insurance programs. The data set represents about 98 percent of nonfarm payroll employment.

QCEW records are linked across quarters to provide a longitudinal history for each establishment. The linkage allows the tracking of net employment changes at the establishment level, which in turn allows the estimation of jobs gained at opening and expanding units and jobs lost at closing and contracting units.

Gross job gains are the sum of increases in employment from expansions at existing units and the addition of new jobs at opening units.

Gross job losses are the result of contractions in employment at existing units and the loss of jobs at closing units. The difference between the number of gross job gains and the number of gross job losses is the net change in employment.

The BED program also measures the rate of “job churning” in the labor market by measuring gross job gains and gross job losses.

During the first quarter of 2021 gross job gains in Idaho equated to 8.1 percent of private sector employment, while gross job losses in amounted to 5.7 percent of private sector employment. These numbers show a net employment gain of 2.4 percent.

Table 1. 3-month private sector gross job gains and losses as a percent of employment, seasonally adjusted

Table 1 explains the graph in Figure 1 in percentages. Both gross job gains and gross job losses declined during first quarter of 2021. The decline in gross job gains was entirely from expanding establishments. Closing establishments made up three-quarters of the decline in gross job losses, while contracting establishments made up the rest. First quarter 2021’s net employment change was slightly lower than fourth quarter 2020.

Our final look is at the number of establishments gaining and losing employment. The number of Idaho establishments gaining jobs from December 2020 to March 2021 was 18,626, while the number of establishments that lost jobs was 13,336. Idaho experienced a net increase in new establishments of 2,261 which is calculated by taking the difference of opening establishments and closing establishments.

Follow quarterly job gains and losses reports on the Idaho Department of Labor’s labor market website at