Idaho’s December Unemployment Rate Reaches Historic Low of 2.4%


For Immediate Release: Jan. 21, 2022
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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%).

National Comparisons

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

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



3 thoughts on “Idaho’s December Unemployment Rate Reaches Historic Low of 2.4%

  1. Pingback: Governor Brad Little: Idaho Shatters Another Record for Jobs | Pocatello-Chubbuck Observer

  2. Gerald L Deitz

    The only rays that you see at 2.4% unemployment is all appear unemployment is all the people that need unemployment don’t qualify to get it anymore thus you’re low rate there’s so many people that are losing their vehicles their houses belongings and such a North Idaho it’s pathetic and you’re not doing a darn thing about it

    1. Idaho Department of Labor Post author

      Dear Mr. Deitz,

      Thank you for your comment and for your concern for your friends and neighbors who are struggling to make ends meet.

      Like you, we want to see Idahoans succeed, which is why we offer so many services to help people find work. Services like job search assistance, help with resumes and interview tips, and access to education and training opportunities for people who want to skill up and increase their earnings.

      If your friends and family are struggling to pay their bills and make ends meet, we can also help connect them with the northern Idaho Community Action Partnership which helps local residents with a wide range of services including affordable housing, food and nutrition, and assistance for the aging.

      The good news is, it’s a job seeker’s market in northern Idaho. Local employers in your area are desperate for workers. Our most recent numbers show there are two job openings (6,200) for every job seeker (2,500).

      If you know of anyone who can benefit from our services, have them stop by their local Labor office or submit a request for an appointment at

      Respectfully yours,
      The Idaho Department of Labor

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