Idaho unemployment rate holds steady at 3 percent

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Idaho’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for January was 3 percent — the fifth consecutive month at this rate following the benchmarking of 2017 estimates.

Seasonally adjusted month over month, Idaho’s total nonfarm payroll jobs increased by 500 in January to 728,600. Gains in construction, manufacturing, financial activities, educational services, leisure and hospitality, and government were offset by declines in trade, transportation, and utilities, professional business services, and other services.

An additional 2,200 people entered the workforce from December to January, pushing Idaho’s seasonally adjusted labor force number up to 844,000. Total employment increased by 2,200 to 818,800, and the number of unemployed remained essentially unchanged at 25,200.

January’s labor force participation rate — the percentage of people 16 years and older with jobs or looking for work — remained unchanged from December at 63.9 percent.

According to the Conference Board, a Washington, D.C. think tank, there were more than 22,000 online postings for Idaho jobs in January. Of those postings, 5,000 were classified by department analysts as hard-to-fill. Health care-related jobs accounted for 23.8 percent and included physicians, surgeons, psychiatrists, occupational and physical therapists and support positions. By volume, registered nurses and truck drivers maintained the first and second spots for the largest number of hard-to-fill jobs.

Over the year, Idaho was second in the nation with a seasonally adjusted over-the-year job growth of 2.8 percent for January — the second fastest growth rate in the country - and a gain of 19,700 jobs.

Five of Idaho’s major industry sectors experienced job gains of four percent or greater over January 2017: 8.7 percent in construction (3,800 jobs), 5.2 percent in financial activities (1,800 jobs), 4.5 percent in other services (1,100 jobs), 4.4 percent in manufacturing (2,900 jobs) and 4.3 percent in leisure and hospitality (3,200 jobs).

Among Idaho’s Metropolitan Statistical Areas, month over month, the Lewiston MSA was the fastest growing at 1 percent growth or 300 jobs.

Boise experienced the strongest seasonally adjusted over-the-year growth of 11,800 jobs (4.8 percent).

Idaho’s county rates for January and February of 2018 will be included in the February employment release scheduled for Friday, March 23.

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