Tag Archives: idaho economy

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 Industries Most Affected by COVID-19

COVID-19 is having substantial economic impacts and causing significant job losses as non-essential businesses close. In Idaho, unemployment insurance claims spiked following implementation of Idaho’s stay-home order, with nearly 110,000 total claims filed in the first five weeks following the statewide emergency order. Since then, weekly initial claims averages are roughly 18 times greater than the weekly average in 2019.

While it will take time to understand the full economic impact of COVID-19, it is not too early to detect job loss patterns. Some industries are losing more jobs than others, and while some industry losses are not surprising — like movie theaters, restaurants and salons — others may be counterintuitive. Despite the strain on some parts of the health care industry to treat COVID-19, health care workers are losing their jobs because patients are putting off routine medial care and elective surgeries. Other people are avoiding emergency rooms and urgent care clinics due to fears of contracting COVID-19.

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COVID-19 and Idaho’s Economy – The First Six Weeks

COVID-19 slammed Idaho’s economy in March, causing the most sudden and largest job losses ever. At first, most of the job losses occurred in the tourism industry, as fear of COVID-19 reduced international travel, then domestic travel. Then conventions were canceled, schools closed, classes moved online and the dominoes kept falling. Every day, more businesses shut down or laid off its workers. On March 25, Gov. Brad Little issued a statewide 21-day stay-home order and required non-essential businesses to close.

In the six weeks since the coronavirus began affecting Idaho’s economy, 117,811 claims were filed — 13.5 percent of all Idaho residents who were employed before the crisis.

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Regional COVID-19 Pandemic Weekly Update – May 1, 2020

The COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic has created unprecedented disruptions to the economy. Each week in March and April brought news and developments that were historic and overshadowed the previous week’s developments. It has been impossible to keep up with the magnitude and volume of the economic impact affecting Idaho and its regions.

To document this event in Idaho, and the changes our state is experiencing from week to week, the Idaho Department of Labor is providing a weekly update. Pertinent events and data as it becomes available will be provided for each region in Idaho, the state as a whole and the context of the national economy.

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Idaho’s Weekly Initial Claims Because of COVID-19 Reach 117,000

NEWS RELEASE

For Immediate Release: April 30, 2020
Information Contact: Georgia Smith, (208) 332-3570 ext. 2102 or Craig Shaul, (208) 332-3570 ext. 3201

Laid-off Idaho workers filed 117,811 initial claims for unemployment benefits during the six weeks of the COVID-19 state of emergency – twice the total number of initial claims filed in all of 2019.

Initial claims reached 8,827 during the week ending April 25, a 32 percent decline from the previous week.

It was the third week the number of new claims fell, while continued claims – the number of valid claims filed by people who are eligible, currently claiming benefits and still unable to return to work – reached 71,416. Continue reading

Regional COVID-19 Pandemic Weekly Update – April 24, 2020

The COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic has created unprecedented disruptions to the economy. Each week in March brought news and developments that were historic and overshadowed the previous week’s developments. It has been impossible to keep up with the magnitude and volume of the economic impact affecting Idaho and its regions.

To document this event in Idaho, and the changes our state is experiencing from week to week, the Idaho Department of Labor is providing a weekly update. Pertinent events and data as it becomes available will be provided for each region in Idaho, the state as a whole and the context of the national economy.

Continue reading

Idahoans File 30,904 More Initial Claims for Unemployment Insurance

NEWS RELEASE

For Immediate Release: April 9, 2020
Information Contact: Georgia Smith, (208) 332-3570 ext. 2102 or Craig Shaul, (208) 332-3570 ext. 3201

Idaho workers laid off due to the coronavirus filed 30,904 initial claims for unemployment insurance between March 29 and April 4, a decrease of 6.2 percent from the previous week’s record level of 32,941.

The combined three-week total of claims filed since Gov. Brad Little declared a state of emergency the week of March 8 is 77,430 – an increase of 7,400 percent.

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Governor’s Task Force Makes Recommendations to Improve Idaho’s Broadband Access

Establishing a state broadband office, updating the state plan and formalizing installment policies for efficiency are several recommendations made by the Governor’s Broadband Access Task Force.

The task force, created by a Governor’s Executive Order in May, was assigned to research and offer solutions to improve broadband reliability, connectivity and service levels across Idaho.

In rural communities throughout Idaho, expanding access to broadband is a high priority for economic developers. High-speed Internet has become such a standard part of doing business that lack of access limits local businesses’ ability to expand, find employees, find suppliers, train their workers and market their products.

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Idaho’s November Unemployment Remains Steady at 2.9 Percent

NEWS RELEASE

For Immediate Release: Dec. 20, 2019
Information Contact: Craig Shaul (208) 332-3570 ext. 3201 or Robert Kabel (208) 332-3570 ext. 3886

State rate remains at or under 3 percent for two full years

Idaho’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate remained at 2.9 percent in November for the fifth consecutive month.

An additional 2,221 people made themselves available for work in November, pushing Idaho’s seasonally adjusted labor force up to 886,877. The number of unemployed increased by 146 to 25,880. Total employment grew by 2,075 to 860,997.

Idaho’s labor force participation rate – the percentage of people age 16 years or older working or looking for work – remained unchanged at 64.1 percent.

Over the year, November’s statewide labor force was up 24,330 (2.8 percent), total employment was up 22,174 (2.6 percent) and there were 2,156 more unemployed individuals. Seasonally-adjusted nonfarm jobs were up 2.7 percent from November 2018, a gain of 19,700 jobs. Professional and business services (7.2 percent) and financial activities (4.9 percent) showed the largest percentage gain while natural resources (-2.9 percent) and information (-2.3 percent) showed the largest percentage losses.

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Hiring Challenges Point to a Need for more STEM Workers in Idaho

As Idaho’s employment projections indicate an increased demand for STEM jobs in the next decade, the state’s employers will face even more challenges when filling those positions in the near future if supply does not increase to match the growing need.

With record low unemployment rates in Idaho and the nation as a whole, help wanted ads have languished unfilled for longer stretches of time. Close to 70 percent of the job postings in a given month were unfilled/reposted from the previous month, and more than 50 percent of them have remained unfilled for more than 90 days.

Employers looking for STEM applicants are facing even tougher times given the relatively smaller pool of STEM workers available and the higher educational and training requirements for these jobs. Openings of lengthy duration can be interpreted – with some caution – as a shortage. In that case, targeted occupational and regional STEM training and education would have enormous benefits in addressing a growing need. Continue reading