Category Archives: Labor Market

Challenges and opportunities for Idaho veterans

U.S. military veterans play an important role in the Idaho workforce and in their local communities. Sometimes veterans tend to be older than their nonveteran counterparts and face a unique set of challenges. Their armed services training often gives veterans specialized and transferrable skills that are marketable in the civilian economy. The employment services offered by the Idaho Department of Labor and its partner agencies also help our veteran population manage some of the challenges they face in the workforce.

Veterans demographics by the numbers

The percentage of Idahoans aged 18 and over claiming veteran status is 8.6%, about 1.3 times the national average [1]. Wartime-era veterans are represented in Figure 1. From a total of 122,000 veterans, this leaves a balance of 16,838 veterans living in Idaho who fall under the “other wartime service” category, including service in Afghanistan, the War on Terror and later conflicts.

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Top Idaho employer concerns revealed in inaugural survey


For Immediate Release: Sept. 5, 2023
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The supply and cost of workers and high labor turnover are among top concerns of Idaho businesses who participated in an Idaho Department of Labor survey this spring.

This inaugural Idaho business climate survey was designed to uncover significant business concerns, desired labor force skills, leadership demographics, remote work trends and future growth expectations among Idaho employers.

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Labor’s Sept. 12 webinar will focus on Idaho’s veteran population


For Immediate Release: Sept. 6, 2023
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According to the U.S Census Bureau, there were 122,331 veterans living in Idaho in 2021, or 8.6% of the total adult population. Quite a few re-enter the workforce after their service.

Two Idaho Department of Labor economists, Matthew Paskash and Ryan Whitesides, will present labor market information on the state’s veteran population and desirable workforce traits of veterans at a free webinar, Tuesday Sept. 12. Continue reading

Business Profile: Labor shortage not so easily solved

Economist Lisa Grigg says building more housing in north central Idaho could help fill crucial job openings in the area

This article originally was published in the Lewiston Tribune. It is republished here with permission.

Lisa Grigg, labor economist with the Idaho Department of Labor, poses for a photo at her desk Wednesday in Lewiston. August Frank/Tribune

Constructing more housing might help ease a labor shortage in north central Idaho driven by an aging population.

That observation comes from Lisa Grigg, an economist with the Idaho Department of Labor who is based in Lewiston.

“Our area has under-built for the past decade,” she said. “We just don’t have space for those people who are in their 20s and have a great job and are making a solid income. There’s no places for them to rent and housing prices are out of reach for most.”

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Labor market webinar, Aug. 8, will explore Idaho’s economic resiliency


For Immediate Release: Aug. 2, 2023
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“Is the U.S, headed for a recession?” has been making headlines for some time, in part from COVID-19 pandemic fallout. Inflation has slowed, which is a positive sign, but how resilient is Idaho’s economy.

Currently, unemployment in Idaho is at 2.7%, and the monthly job reports are robust and the state has seen strong GDP growth.

The Idaho Department of Labor, will explore this data during our monthly labor market webinar on Tuesday, Aug. 8 from 11 a.m. to noon (MDT) over Zoom.

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Around Idaho: Economic Activity, June 2023

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


  • Labor demand in northern Idaho remains robust, with elevated levels of unfilled jobs. All told, there were 2,292 job postings in northern Idaho in June 2023 – according to data from the Conference Board – of which 1,869 were posted in Kootenai County. The most in-demand occupations were laborers, freight, stock and material movers. These were followed by registered nurses and a variety of high-turnover and common service sector positions.Table - top 10 occupations by job postings in norhtern Idaho, June 2023

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Idaho paid top median wages for 11 occupations in 2022

Idaho may not have the highest overall wage rates in the nation, but 11 of the Gem State’s in-demand occupations command premium pay levels above those of all other states. High wages compared with other states, however, indicates these occupations in Idaho are in demand and employers are having to raise wages to attract the level and skills of workforce they require.

Occupations offering the first or second highest median wages for all states

Of the over 600 occupations in Idaho where wage data is publicly available, Idaho pays the first- or second-highest annual median wages by state for 11 specialized job titles. Idaho is ranked No. 1 in median wages for airline pilots, motor vehicle electronic equipment installers, and forest and conservation workers.

Idaho’s median wages are second highest in the nation for physicists, mining and geological engineers, electrical and electronics drafters, mining machine operators, hearing aid specialists, mail sorters, and logging equipment operators and log graders/scalers. All these occupations pay wages higher than the average U.S. median.

Table: 11 occupations with highest annual wages in Idaho Continue reading

Idaho’s May unemployment rate remains at 2.6%


For Immediate Release: June 16, 2023
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Idaho’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 2.6% in May, remaining unchanged for the fourth consecutive month.

May’s labor force – workers who are employed or unemployed but looking for work – increased by 1,719 people (0.2%) to 962,466.

Idaho’s labor force participation was unchanged between April and May, remaining at 62.5%.

Total employment increased by 1,215 (0.1%) to 937,462 as unemployment increased by 504 (2.1%) to 25,004.

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U.S. Census reports most Idaho cities growing despite some losing residents


For Immediate Release: June 13, 2023
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The U.S. Census Bureau released population estimates for Idaho cities and towns for 2021-2022 – confirming that state population is still growing.

Boise’s net population loss came as a surprise considering the many top 10 lists curating it as the place to land. Boise is Idaho’s largest city and center of government with a variety of multi-family housing under construction or in the design/permitting phase. New subdivisions pepper the southern border of the city and annexation is underway to include 350 acres near the planned $15 billion Micron fabrication plant.

Six Idaho cities contributing the most growth are in southwestern Idaho, three are in northern Idaho and one is in south central Idaho. Of the top 20 largest cities, only three have populations of more than 100,000 — Boise, Meridian and Nampa (Table 1).

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Idaho’s 2022 average hourly wage increases to $24.69


For Immediate Release: June 6, 2023
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Idaho’s average wage for all occupations increased by $1.64 to $24.69 per hour for 2022, according to recently released data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Occupational Employment and Wages Statistics (OEWS) survey.

The release includes 2022 data on employment and wages by occupation for the state, seven Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs) and two rural county regions. Idaho Department of Labor analysts compile and release data for an additional six labor market regions, which are not official Bureau of Labor Statistics areas but have great importance to Idaho. Continue reading