Date: 6/16/2017
Information Contact 1: Craig Shaul : (208) 332-3570 ext. 3201 : 
Information Contact 2: Robert Kabel : (208) 332-3570 ext. 3886 :

Idaho May Unemployment Rate Declines to 3.2 Percent

Idaho’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate fell for the third consecutive month in May to 3.2 percent, underscoring the increased pressure among Idaho employers competing for workers.

According to department analysts, May’s unemployment drop is the result of 2,200 Idahoans exiting the workforce or ending their work search. Total employment dropped by 1,250 while the total number of unemployed fell by 950.

Month-over-month, May estimates show Idaho’s total nonfarm payroll jobs decreased by two-tenths of a percent in May, down 1,200 to 708,800. Six of the state’s 11 industry sectors showed job declines including construction, as well as trade, transportation and utilities. Only three sectors showed job gains — professional and business services increased by 1,200 jobs, and education and health services and other services both grew by 200. Natural resources and government jobs were unchanged from April. 

The state’s labor force participation rate — the percentage of people 16 years and older with jobs or looking for work — dropped to 63.4 percent, the lowest participation rate since July 1976.

Year-over-year, Idaho’s labor force still showed growth, up 8,600 over May 2016. Nonfarm payroll jobs were up 2.4 percent with a net gain of 16,800 jobs. Education and health services showed the largest annual job growth, up 4.8 percent. Strong job gains also occurred in construction, government services, leisure and hospitality, and manufacturing. Retail jobs were down slightly.

Idaho’s nonfarm jobs have shown continued growth for 89 months since the trough of the past recession in January 2010.

Nearly 5,200 of May’s 25,100 online job postings are classified by department analysts as hard-to-fill. Health care-related jobs — physicians, surgeons, psychiatrists, occupational and physical therapists and support positions — accounted for 29 percent of all hard-to-fill jobs. By volume, registered nurses and truck drivers made up the largest number of job listings.

Nationally, unemployment fell to 4.3 percent — down slightly from April — as the country’s labor force declined by 0.3 percent and the participation rate fell two-tenths of a percent to 62.7 percent.

Annually, May’s unemployment insurance benefit payments in Idaho decreased 1.6 percent — from $1.46 million to $1.44 million from May 2016. The number of people filing claims declined by 4.4 percent to 4,724 from a weekly average of 4,941 a year ago.

The Boise Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) showed the strongest seasonally adjusted over-the-year percentage employment growth of all MSAs at 3.7 percent in May, or 11,300 jobs, followed closely by the Lewiston metro area with a 3.6 percent increase, or 1,000 jobs.

Month over month, Coeur d’Alene (up 1 percent) and Idaho Falls (up 0.2 percent) experienced the largest job increases. Together, the remaining MSAs experienced a decrease of 1,000 jobs: Boise (down 0.1 percent), Lewiston (down 1.4 percent) and Pocatello (down 0.5 percent).

Twenty of Idaho’s 44 counties had unemployment rates at or above the state rate in May. Of these, only two counties experienced rates above 6 percent: Clearwater at 7.5 percent and Shoshone at 6.6 percent. Madison County continued to experience the lowest unemployment rate at 1.9 percent.

Details on Idaho’s unemployment picture can be found at

Seasonally Adjusted Data         




Civilian Labor Force








% Labor Force Unemployed




Total Employment




Unadjusted Forecast Data                

Civilian Labor Force








% Labor Force Unemployed




Total Employment





Adjusting Text Size

Use your web browser to control the text size of our website. See below for where to find these controls.

Google Chrome:


Internet Explorer 6:

Internet Explorer 7+:

Mozilla Firefox:

Mozilla Firefox 2:

See instructions for other web browsers.