Idaho’s robust labor market is expected to continue in the short term, according to new projections from the Idaho Department of Labor. Throughout 2020 and 2021, Idaho demonstrated consistent labor market resilience, becoming one of the first states to recover its job losses from the COVID-19 pandemic, and ranking – along with Utah – far ahead of all other states in post-pandemic job growth.
This growth is expected to persist through 2023 as in-migration and a growing demand for services continue to support Idaho’s economic strength.
The department’s newest short term projections forecast roughly 34,000 new jobs to be added in the state through 2023 for a growth rate of 2.1% per year. While almost all Idaho industries are projected to see job gains, rapid growth is expected in industries tied to high in-migration levels, such as construction and sectors still recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Construction is projected to add 3,000 new jobs for an annual growth rate of 2.7% as demand for new housing remains high. The fastest projected growth rate, however, is in leisure and hospitality, forecasted to grow at 3.7% annually. This sector, which includes hotels and restaurants, was slower to recover from COVID-19 and therefore has room to re-add jobs lost in 2020.
Source: Idaho Department of Labor
Optimism in Idaho’s labor market is supported by the state’s continued strength in the state’s demographic base and its excellent track record of job creation. Except for the pandemic year of 2020, Idaho’s job growth had exceeded 2% seven years in a row. Recent Census Bureau data showed Idaho had the fastest population growth rate of all states in 2021, indicating demand for housing and services will continue to grow. Expectations for strong demand are further validated by growing personal income. Third quarter data from the Bureau of Economic Analysis showed personal income grew by 7.9% in 2021, placing Idaho in the top 10 for income growth.
Strong job and population growth in 2021 demonstrated Idaho’s desirability has not waned, and factors that have driven labor market strength remain at work in the state. Even after the major pandemic disruptions of 2020, Idaho’s labor market remains strong, with robust job growth across a wide range of industries. This labor market strength should be expected to persist into the foreseeable future.
Sam.Wolkenhauer@labor.idaho.gov, regional economist
(208) 457-8789 ext. 4451