A surge in the number of Idahoans sixteen years of age and older either working or looking for work in October increased the pool of available workers for employment -- and pushed the state’s unemployment rate up to 2.9 percent, labor officials said.
While October’s one-tenth of a percentage point increase in unemployment was the first increase in eight years, the addition of 4,850 people to the labor force was one of the largest monthly increases on record -- and helped move the state’s labor force participation rate up to 63.5 percent, according to a news release from the Idaho Department of Labor.
Total employment grew by another record-setting increase of 4,246 in October -- to 804,924; while the total number of unemployed increased by 604 to 23,622, the release stated.
Job growth in at least five industry sectors -– construction, trade and transportation, financial activities, education and health, and leisure and hospitality beat five-year average expectations with an increase of 4,500 jobs, driving non-farm payrolls up .5 percent to 719,400.
Natural resources, manufacturing, and information met seasonal expectations with no net change in jobs, while only two sectors -– professional and business services and government -– shed a total of 900 jobs.
Month over month, the Boise, Idaho Falls and Pocatello areas have exceeded seasonal expectations, with a collective increase of 1,600 jobs, while the Lewiston and Coeur d’Alene areas saw no change, labor officials said.