Author Archives: Idaho Department of Labor

About Idaho Department of Labor

Our vision is to be Idaho’s first choice for employment services. We connect job seekers with Idaho employers, deliver employment services to Idaho businesses and support people during career and life transitions.

Idaho Unemployment Reaches Record High of 11.5 Percent in April


For Immediate Release: May 22, 2020
Information Contact:Craig Shaul, (208) 332-3570 ext. 3201 or Karen Jarboe Singletary (208) 332-3570 ext. 3215

Nonfarm Jobs fell 10.4 percent

Idaho’s seasonally adjusted unemployment jumped to 11.5 percent and non-farm payrolls lost 79,500 jobs in April due to the effects of COVID-19.

April’s rate increased nine percentage points from a record low 2.5 percent in March to an all-time high that exceeded record-setting rates of 10.2 percent in December 1982 and the Great Recession peak rate of 9.6 percent in June 2009.

Total employment dropped by 83,842 to 788,816, a decrease of 9.6 percent, while the number of unemployed Idahoans grew by 81,001 – nearly five-fold – to 102,975.

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Idaho Sees 5,800 New Weekly Initial Claims Because of COVID-19


For Immediate Release: May 21, 2020
Information Contact: Georgia Smith, (208) 332-3570 ext. 2102 or Craig Shaul, (208) 332-3570 ext. 3201

A total of 5,800 new initial claims were filed in Idaho for unemployment benefits during the week ending May 16, the same level filed the previous week.

It was the first week new claims numbers held steady after six consecutive weeks of declines. Continued claims – the number of people who requested a benefit payment  – fell to 60,121, a decline of 8 percent from the previous week.

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Idaho Labor Program Helps Support Food Bank, Interfaith Sanctuary During COVID-19

Overwhelmed food banks, pantries and shelters across the state have found some help from the Idaho Department of Labor’s work experience program, and now more than 15 people across the state are working at various locations, learning job skills and helping people in need while earning a paycheck.

The idea was formulated when the Idaho Office of Emergency Management (OEM) contacted the Labor Department looking for solutions to replace Idaho National Guard members who had been helping food bank workers keep up with increased demand at pickup sites because of COVID-19.

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Labor Department Seeks Help in Preventing Fraud


For Immediate Release: May 19, 2020
Information Contact: Darlene Carnopis, (208) 332-3570 ext. 3439

The Idaho Department of Labor is asking for the public’s help in preventing unemployment insurance fraud.

“Idaho employers and workers are our first – and best –  line of defense against unemployment insurance fraud,” said Jani Revier, Labor director.

The department is asking people who are notified by the department that a claim has been filed when they did not file the claim, to send an email to Do not include personally identifiable information such as a Social Security number in the email. A Labor employee will follow up for more information. Employers who notice a claim has been filed for one of their employees who is still working, should also alert the department.

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One-Third of Idaho Jobs Can Be Performed by Teleworking

-Data suggests jobs performed at home pay more-

With social distancing measures in place to limit the spread of COVID-19, many workers are transitioning to working from home. One in three Idaho jobs are fully suited for telework. The rest are most vulnerable to unemployment during a pandemic. As Idaho’s economy rapidly adapts to remote work, access to high-speed broadband – particularly in the more rural parts of the state – is critical.

The Rise of Teleworking

The full extent of the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic is still to be determined, but early signs show the impact on jobs to be significant. As of May 2, 2020, the state of Idaho recorded a record high 125,306 initial claims for unemployment benefits during the seven weeks of the COVID-19 state of emergency. Nationally, the economy lost a staggering 20.5 million jobs in April, bumping the unemployment rate to 14.7 percent.

Along with the unprecedented job losses is a rapid trend towards remote work. To comply with social distancing and stay-at-home orders, employees who can are increasingly being allowed to work from home. Latest trends in online job postings show that while online job postings overall have fallen in recent months, postings specifically labeled as work-from-home are on the rise. The number of new Idaho work-from-home job postings jumped 49 percent from February to March 2020 and 2.4 percent from March to April. In contrast, Idaho job postings overall declined nearly 40 percent from March to April alone.

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Idaho Labor Encourages Youth to Apply for Job Assistance


For Immediate Release: May 14, 2020
Information Contact: Windy Keele, (208) 557-2500 ext. 3053

The Idaho Department of Labor is actively recruiting youth for the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) program in most regions across the state. Grant money is available through the WIOA program to help youth and young adults who are struggling in their career due to a lack of education or job training.

The WIOA program provides qualifying young adults with career guidance and financial assistance to help achieve their educational and employment goals. Services are customized to meet the needs of each applicant and may include job search assistance, work experience, apprenticeships or formal training programs as well as a variety of other assistance.

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Idaho Sees 5,795 New Weekly Initial Claims Because of COVID-19


For Immediate Release: May 14, 2020
Information Contact: Craig Shaul, (208) 332-3570 ext. 3201 or Salvador Vazquez, (208) 332-3570 ext. 3218

Initial claims reached 5,795 during the week ending May 9, a 23 percent decline from the previous week.

Laid-off Idaho workers filed 131,101 initial claims for unemployment benefits during the eight weeks of the COVID-19 state of emergency – 2.2 times the total number of initial claims filed in all of 2019.

It was the sixth week the number of new claims fell, while continued claims – the number of people who claimed benefits – fell to 65,478, a decline of 9 percent from the previous week.

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Job Postings Drop in Response to COVID-19

As the COVID-19 pandemic sweeps through the nation, tracking its impact on the labor market in real-time is necessary, yet challenging, as data to capture the rapid changes occurring on a daily basis is rarely available.

Weekly initial unemployment insurance claims data is currently the best real-time economic indicator available to capture the supply side of the labor market – it gives some indication of how many people are newly unemployed every week. Job postings are another important indicator providing valuable insight into the demand side of the job market and how employers are responding to the crisis. Continue reading

Idaho’s Small Businesses Feel Impact of COVID-19

The second half of March saw an unprecedented surge in the number of unemployment claims filed in Idaho. During the week ending March 28 alone, the state recorded more than 32,000 initial claims – more than 3,000 percent greater than the number of claims just two weeks prior. Between March 15 and April 25, Idahoans filed 117,811 new claims.

A significant number of the jobless claims can be attributed to closures of restaurants, a vast majority of which are small enterprises with under 50 employees. According to the 2019 Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages, 94 percent of all restaurants in the state have fewer than 50 employees, and these small enterprises account for 77 percent of industry employment.

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Around Idaho: Economic Activity in April 2020

Information provided in these news updates is from professional sources, news releases, weekly and daily newspapers, television and other media.

Northern Idaho
North Central Idaho
Southwestern Idaho
South Central Idaho
Eastern Idaho


NORTHERN IDAHO – Benewah, Bonner, Boundary, Kootenai & Shoshone Counties

Benewah County

  • The Federal Communications Commission has approved $521,000 in funding for Red-Spectrum Communications, a broadband provider owned by the Coeur d’Alene Tribe, to expand access in Benewah County. Source: Journal of Business

Bonner County

  • The U.S. District Court has approved Tamarack Aerospace’s proposed reorganization plan. The Sandpoint winglet manufacturer has been pursuing a reorganization to allow it to emerge from ongoing Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Source: Journal of Business
  • Percussionaire, a Sandpoint manufacturer, has received clearance from the Food and Drug Administration to produce and distribute a new compact ventilator. The company has also massively ramped up production, from their typical rate of roughly 100 ventilators a month, to more than 1,000 per week. Source: Coeur d’Alene Press

Kootenai County

  • Local food banks are facing significantly higher needs from the community in the wake of COVID-19-related job losses. The Kroc Center and the Silver Lake Mall are now hosting distribution of food as well as personal protective equipment and hygiene products. Source: Coeur d’Alene Press
  • Despite economic disruption from COVID-19, some construction has proceeded apace in Kootenai County. The Atlas Mill Site development project is moving forward, although construction has not yet begun, and commercial construction in Hayden is still occurring. Source: Coeur d’Alene Press
  • The Coeur Group, a volunteer group of professionals in Kootenai County, is providing a variety of services to affected residents through their COVID-19 task force. Services include running errands for health-compromised individuals who cannot go out in public, in addition to providing financial assistance to households struggling to meet basic expenses. Source: Coeur d’Alene Press, regional economist
Idaho Department of Labor
(208) 457-8789 ext. 4451

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