Idaho’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 2.4% in December, a historic low and one-tenth of a percentage point below the state’s previous record of 2.5% in December 2019.
The number of Idahoans employed or looking for work grew by 806 people (0.1%) to 909,467 – marking the smallest over-the-month labor force gain through the last five months of 2021.
Labor force participation decreased slightly from 62.3% to 62.2% in December. The state’s participation rate dropped below the previous historic low in June 2021 and has continued decreasing in the months since – an indication of a persistently tight labor market. Idaho’s peak participation rate reached 71.4% in September 1998.
Total employment grew by 2,522 to 887,379, up 0.3%, while total unemployment dropped by 1,716 (7.2%) to 22,088. According to The Conference Board’s Help Wanted Online there were 51,765 online job openings in Idaho in December – a ratio of 2.3 openings for every unemployed Idahoan.
Idaho’s nonfarm job growth exceeded seasonal expectations in December, up 2,000 jobs (0.3%) for a total of 790,500 jobs. Industry sectors with the greatest over-the-month gains include natural resources (4.9%); information (3.9%); transportation, warehousing and utilities (2.4%); durable goods manufacturing (1.6%); federal government (0.8%); professional and business services (0.5%); local government (0.4%); accommodation and food services (0.4%); and retail trade (0.3%).
Industries with job declines include nondurable goods manufacturing (-1.3%); state government (-1.2%); wholesale trade (-0.9%); financial activities (-0.5%); and construction (-0.2%).
Coeur d’Alene experienced the highest over-the-month nonfarm job growth among the state’s Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs) with an increase of 0.8%. Idaho Falls saw the second highest job growth at 0.3%, and both Boise and Pocatello saw an increase of 0.2% in December. Lewiston was the only MSA to see a decrease in nonfarm jobs (-0.7%).
Year over Year
Idaho’s labor force was up 1% from December 2020, an increase of 9,222 people.
Total unemployment dropped 36.2% (12,508) from December 2020, with the number of working Idahoans up 2.5% (21,730).
Idaho’s nonfarm job total increased by 1.8% (14,100) over December 2020 and was 2.2% above its February 2020 pre-pandemic peak.
Every major industry sector showed over-the-year job increases in December except for manufacturing (-3%); federal government (-2.2%); and professional and business services (-1.7%). Leisure and hospitality – the most adversely affected industry during the pandemic – was 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 6.6%, followed by Coeur d’Alene (3.7%), Idaho Falls (2.4%), Boise (1.4%) and Lewiston (1.4%).
Nationally, unemployment dropped from 4.2% in November to 3.9% in December, with the number of unemployed down 484,826 to 6.3 million. The nation’s labor force increased by 168,000 to 162.3 million. Total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 199,000 to 149 million.
* Editors / News Directors – please note:
February and March will have nonstandard release dates due to the annual Bureau of Labor Statistics benchmarking process. Benchmarking includes revisions to state labor force estimates – population, total employed, unemployed, unemployment rate and total nonfarm jobs – based on new inputs and population data. Nonfarm jobs are benchmarked using reported employer data.
Upcoming Idaho Release Schedule:
March 2, 2022: State Labor Force Data 2010‐2021 available via bls.gov
March 14, 2022: Labor Force and Nonfarm Jobs Data for January 2022, statewide only
March 25, 2022: Labor Force and Nonfarm jobs for February 2022, statewide only
April 15, 2022: Labor Force and Nonfarm Jobs Data for March 2022
Sub-state – MSA, region, county and city – Labor Force Data for January-March 2022
The full release calendar for 2022 is available at https://www.labor.idaho.gov/dnn/lmicalendar