Idaho ranks 3rd in the nation in over-the-year growth

dept of labor


May Unemployment Rate Unchanged at 3.7%

– Idaho ranks 3rd in the nation in over-the-year growth –

Idaho’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate held at 3.7 percent in May, unchanged from April. 

Over the year, Idaho ranked third highest in the nation with 3.2 percent nonfarm job growth. Five of the 10 industry sectors in Idaho experienced increases of 3 percent or higher with job growth in construction leading the way at 8.9 percent. Natural resources was the only industry to see a decrease in jobs over the year, down 7.5 percent.

Month to month, Idaho’s seasonally-adjusted nonfarm payrolls declined slightly by 0.3 percent, following a national report for May that also found job growth below expectations. Gains in construction, information, financial activities and other services were offset by weaker-than-expected performance in manufacturing, wholesale trade, health care and social services, leisure and hospitality, and professional and business services.

Nationally, unemployment was 4.7 percent in May, falling three tenths of a percent from April’s rate.

Total employment for Idaho grew by more than 1,800 to 779,500 as the number of unemployed Idahoans increased by 50 people to 29,880. This is the first month total unemployment has increased since June of last year. Idaho’s seasonally adjusted labor force increased by 1,900 to 809,400.

Idaho’s labor force participation rate – the percentage of people 16 years and older with jobs or looking for work – was 64.1 percent in May, up slightly from April’s 64 percent.

According to the Conference Board, a Washington, D.C. think tank, there were 25,500 online postings for Idaho jobs in May. Of those listings, 4,400 were classified by department analysts as “hard-to-fill” – jobs continuously posted for 90 days or more. Based on vacancy rates – a high number of openings compared with the total employment for that occupation – health care jobs account for more than 20 percent of all hard-to-fill jobs and include physicians, surgeons, psychiatrists and occupational and physical therapists. By volume, truck drivers and registered nurses hold the first and second spots for the largest number of hard-to-fill jobs.

Annually, Idaho’s unemployment benefit payments were down 10.8 percent – from $1.6 million a year ago to $1.4 million for May 2016. The number of weeks compensated dropped 15 percent over the year.

Among Idaho’s 44 counties, 22 had unemployment rates above the state rate. Madison and Franklin counties experienced the lowest rates in the state at 2.4 percent and 2.8 percent, respectively. Shoshone County had the highest rate at 6.6 percent.

The Idaho Falls metropolitan statistical area (MSA) reported the lowest unemployment rate of all MSAs at 3.1 percent, down from 3.5 percent one year earlier. The Coeur d’Alene MSA experienced the highest unemployment rate among the MSAs at 4.4 percent, down from 4.7 percent the previous April.

Details on Idaho’s unemployment picture can be found at




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