For Immediate Release: May 17, 2019
Information Contact: Craig Shaul (208) 332-3570 ext. 3201 or Karen Jarboe Singletary (208) 332-3570 ext. 3215
Steady Nonfarm Job Growth Continues
Idaho’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate dropped slightly to 2.8 percent in April, the 17th consecutive month at or below 3 percent.
An additional 1,768 people made themselves available for work between March and April, pushing Idaho’s seasonally adjusted labor force up to 869,968. The number of unemployed decreased by 234 – down nearly one percent to 24,683. Total employment grew by 2,002 to 845,285.
Idaho’s labor force participation rate – the percentage of people age 16 years or older working or looking for work – increased to 63.9 percent.
Since 2000, the number of people who are neither working nor looking for work and counted as “not in the labor force,” increased according to a recent article by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
From 2004 to 2014, the proportion of the population 16 years and older who said they were not in the labor force increased due to school attendance, illness or disability, or retirement.
The percentage not in the labor force also rose for both men and women 25 to 54 years, and nearly all reasons cited recorded an increase. Women in this age group were more likely than men to cite home responsibilities as the main reason for not working. Men and women 25 to 54 years with less education were more likely to be labor force nonparticipants than their counterparts with more education. From 2004 to 2014, the increases in the percentage of men and women not in the labor force were larger for those with less education.
In 2013 both the national and statewide unemployment rates were declining – a positive economic sign. But the concern has been the labor force participation rate, which has been falling – particularly in certain age groups.
The labor force participation rate – the percentage of the adult population that is employed or actively looking for work – has been steadily declining since the late 1990s, both nationally and in Idaho. Idaho did see a strong jump in the rate during the mid-2000s expansion, and the state participation rate has remained at or above the national rate even during five percentage point slide over the past 15 years. The national annual average rate only declined 3.4 percentage points.