Idaho's unemployment rate drops to 4%

Posted at 5:11 PM, Nov 20, 2015
and last updated 2015-11-20 19:11:27-05

Idaho’s seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate for October dropped two tenths of a point to 4 percent.  

October’s job growth was the strongest it has been for that month in a decade, as hiring absorbed an additional 1,800 people who joined the labor force along with 1,000 unemployed workers, Idaho Department of Labor officials said.

Non-farm jobs increased by 1.2 percent as the result of 8,000 additional jobs, a strong showing for a month that increased on average by 0.3 percent each year for the last five years, according to reports.

Construction jobs grew by 1.9 percent in October -- counter to a normal seasonal decline of 0.5 percent. Retail added 900 jobs -– a gain of 1.1 percent and almost four times the five-year average of 0.3 percent.

Leisure and hospitality jobs declined by 2,100 jobs -– down 3.1 percent, but still lighter than a five-year average decline of 5.1 percent.

Year-over-year, Idaho’s non-farm payrolls were up by 3.8 percent for an increase of 25,000 jobs reflected across almost all industry sectors with particularly strong growth in construction, education, health care and manufacturing. Information services was the only exception with a decline of 300 jobs since last year, the IDL said.

Idaho labor force participation rate -– the percentage of people 16 years and older with jobs or looking for work –- grew to 64.2 percent in October after four consecutive months at 64.1 percent.

Heading into the holiday season, Idaho employers continue to face the challenge of a tight labor supply -- with just over one unemployed worker per job listing, according to the Conference Board.

Nationally unemployment dipped slightly to 5 percent as jobs increased by 271,000, seasonally-adjusted, beating analyst expectations and the 12-month average increase of 230,000 jobs.

Annually, Idaho’s unemployment insurance benefit payments were down by 18 percent -- from $1.5 million a year ago to $1.2 million for October of this year. The number of claimants dropped by 20 percent from a weekly average of 5,500 a year ago to 4,300.

Twenty Idaho counties experienced higher unemployment rates than the state average during October. Gooding County claimed the lowest unemployment rate in the state at 2.6 percent, while Adams, Benewah and Clearwater counties reported higher rates, reports stated.