Idaho’s September Unemployment Unchanged at 2.9 Percent
Idaho’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate remained at 2.9 percent in September for the third consecutive month.
An additional 2,906 people made themselves available for work in September, pushing Idaho’s seasonally adjusted labor force up to 882,214. The number of unemployed increased by 136 to 25,626. Total employment grew by 2,770 to 856,588.
Idaho’s labor force participation rate – the percentage of people age 16 years or older working or looking for work – has been slowly increasing since June 2019 and reached 64.1 percent in September.
Over the year, September’s statewide labor force was up 20,690 (2.4 percent), total employment was up 18,692 (2.2 percent) and there were 1,998 more unemployed workers. Seasonally-adjusted nonfarm jobs were up 3.1 percent from September 2018, the second fastest growth rate in the nation, representing a gain of 22,600 jobs. Four of Idaho’s industry sectors experienced job gains of four percent or greater: 8.2 percent in professional and business services (7,700 jobs), 5.7 percent in financial activities (2,100 jobs), 4.6 percent in education and health services (4,800 jobs) and 4.2 percent in manufacturing (2,900 jobs).
Online job listings reached 27,546 in September, up slightly from 27,073 a year ago, according to the Conference Board, a Washington, D.C., think tank. Of those, 7,235 openings were classified as hard-to-fill by department analysts, down slightly from 7,385 a year ago. Hard-to-fill positions are posted for 90 days or more. Health care jobs, including physicians, surgeons, psychiatrists, occupational and physical therapists and support positions, represent roughly 21 percent of all hard-to-fill online openings.
Idaho nonfarm jobs increased by 4,600 from August to September for a monthly total of 762,600. This increase of 0.6 pecent was the second largest in the nation, both in percentage increase and total jobs. Eight of Idaho’s 11 industry sectors exceeded seasonal expectations, led by construction (+2.2 percent), professional and business services (+1.4 percent) and financial activities (+1.3 percent). The information and other services sectors shed a combined total of 400 jobs, while natural resources saw no employment level changes.
Job growth for the Idaho Falls Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) was the fastest, up 0.6 percent or 400 jobs from August to September 2019. The Idaho Falls MSA also experienced the strongest seasonally adjusted over-the-year nonfarm percentage growth in Idaho, adding 2,700 jobs (3.9 percent).
Unemployment insurance benefit payments were down 1.3 percent from a weekly average of $811,400 one year ago to $801,000 weekly for September 2019. The number of claimants dropped by 7.9 percent over the year to 2,400 from a weekly average of 2,605.
Nationally unemployment dropped 0.2 percent to 3.5 percent in September. Total unemployed decreased by 275,000 from August for a total of 5.8 million people looking for work. One year earlier, the national unemployment rate was 3.7 percent, and the number of unemployed reached 6 million.