Significant drops in the number of unemployed Idahoans and people looking
for work pushed the state’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate down to 3.4
percent in April, narrowing an already tight labor market even further.
Idaho’s labor force – the number of people working or looking for
work - dropped by 2,500, the second consecutive decline after 48 months of
increases, while the number of unemployed dropped by 1,500. Combined with a
slight decrease of 950 in total employment, the state’s unemployment rate was
pushed down by one-tenth of one percent.
Year-over-year, Idaho’s labor force gains remained positive, up 12,200
from April 2016. Nonfarm
payroll jobs increased 2.6 percent during this same timeframe, showing a net
gain of 18,300 jobs and ranking third in the nation for percentage growth,
tying with Florida and Georgia.
Month-over-month, Idaho’s total nonfarm payroll jobs increased by 1,200 in April of this year to 709,900.
Three industry sectors experienced larger-than-normal gains in
April including leisure and hospitality (up 1,400), manufacturing (up 1,200)
and education and health services (up 1,000). Natural resources, information,
other services and government met seasonal expectations with no over-the-month
job gains or declines. Professional and business services (down 1,700), trade,
transportation and utilities (down 300), financial activities (down 200) and
construction (down 200) all experienced larger-than-normal losses.
Idaho’s labor force participation rate – the percentage of people
16 years and older with jobs or looking for work – decreased to 63.7 percent, the
lowest participation rate since February 2015. Idaho’s labor force
participation rate has averaged 70 percent for men and 58 percent for women
over the past 12 months.
More than 17,200 Idaho jobs were posted online in April according
to the Conference Board. Of those, 3,500 were classified by department analysts
as hard-to-fill. Health care-related jobs - physicians, surgeons,
psychiatrists, occupational and physical therapists and support positions - accounted
for 14 percent of all hard-to-fill jobs. By volume, registered nurses and truck
drivers maintained their perpetual first and second spots for the largest
number of job listings.
Annually, April’s unemployment insurance benefit payments increased
by nearly 1.6 percent – up from $1.87 million to $1.9 million. The number of
claimants declined by 1.4 percent to 6,100 from a weekly average of 6,200 a
Among Idaho’s Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSA), Lewiston
experienced the strongest seasonally adjusted over-the-year percentage growth
of 3.9 percent, or 1,100 jobs, followed closely by the Boise metro area with 3.6
percent, or 10,800 jobs.
Month over month, Pocatello (up 1.1 percent) and Boise (up 0.2
percent) experienced increases. Together, the remaining MSAs experienced a decrease
of 800 jobs: Coeur d'Alene (down 0.6 percent), Idaho Falls (down 0.3 percent)
and Lewiston (down 0.7 percent).
Eighteen of Idaho’s 44 counties had unemployment rates above the
state rate. Of these, six counties experienced rates above 6 percent: Clearwater,
8.1 percent; Benewah, 6.9 percent; Shoshone, 6.5 percent; and Lewis, 6.1
percent. Madison County continued to experience the lowest unemployment rate at
Details on Idaho’s
unemployment picture can be found at lmi.Idaho.gov.