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, State labor officials said.
Idaho's labor force -- the number of people working or looking for work -- dropped by 2,500, that’s the second consecutive decline after some four years of increases. 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 after year, Idaho's labor force gains remained positive, officials said, up 12,200 from April 2016. Nonfarm payroll jobs increased 2.6 percent during this same time, showing a net gain of 18,300 jobs and ranking third in the nation for percentage growth -- tying with Florida and Georgia.
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 losse
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 year ago.