Date: 4/21/2017
Information Contact 1: Bob Uhlenkott : (208) 631-3897 : 
Information Contact 2: Robert Kabel : (208) 332-3570 ext. 3886 :

Idaho’s Unemployment Rate Declines to 3.5 Percent

Idaho’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate dropped to 3.5 percent in March, down one tenth of a percent from 3.6 percent in February.

March marks the 78th straight month of over-the-year labor force gains. However, preliminary numbers for March show Idaho’s first labor force month-to-month decline in two years with a decrease of 600. With 500 fewer Idahoans unemployed and 600 fewer Idahoans in the labor force, the monthly decline in both unemployment and labor force helped lower Idaho’s unemployment rate to 3.5 percent.

Year over year, Idaho’s nonfarm payroll job growth remained strong with an increase of 2.7 percent, or 18,700, from the previous March. Job increases were spread among most of Idaho’s industry sectors with the largest gains in construction at 3,000 jobs, or 7.4 percent, and education and health services at 3,300 jobs, or 3.3 percent.

Total nonfarm payroll jobs dropped by 2,200 in March to 709,100 as month-to-month job losses were greater than job gains for the second consecutive month. Job gains in trade, transportation and utilities, manufacturing, government and information were offset by losses in professional and business services, construction, financial activities, leisure and hospitality, education and health services, natural resources and other services. Construction and professional and business services failed to meet March’s seasonal job growth expectations as the western U.S. precipitation conditions disrupted typical hiring patterns. Combined, professional and business services and construction lost 2,500 jobs because of fewer hires than typically expected for March.

Idaho’s labor force participation rate – the percentage of people 16 years and older with jobs or looking for work – dropped slightly to 64 percent, down from February’s 64.1 percent.

More than 23,600 Idaho jobs were posted online in March according to the Conference Board, with 4,200 of those positions classified by department analysts as “hard-to-fill.” Health care-related jobs accounted for 14 percent of Idaho’s hard-to-fill jobs and include physicians, surgeons, psychiatrists, occupational and physical therapists, and support positions. Registered nurses and truck drivers maintained their perpetual first and second spots for the largest number of hard-to-fill jobs based on the volume of listings.

Annually, unemployment insurance benefit payments were up 6 percent - from $2.44 million a year ago to $2.57 million for March of this year - while the number of claimants grew by 2.2 percent to 8,300 from a weekly average of 8,100 a year ago.

The Lewiston Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) experienced the strongest seasonally adjusted over-the-year job growth with an increase of 4.7 percent, or 1,300 jobs. Boise MSA followed with an increase of 3.5 percent, or 10,700 jobs.

Month over month, Pocatello saw no change in job growth while Boise jobs declined by 700. Together, the remaining MSAs saw an increase of 1,000 jobs: Coeur d'Alene, up 2.6 percent; Idaho Falls, up 2.7 percent; and Lewiston, up 1.3 percent.

Twenty-two of Idaho’s 44 counties had unemployment rates above the state rate. Madison County continued to experience the lowest unemployment rate at 2.1 percent. Six counties experienced rates above 6 percent: Clearwater, up 9 percent; Adams, up 7.1 percent; Shoshone and Lewis, up 7 percent each; Benewah, up 6.9 percent; and Lemhi, up 6 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





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