Report: Idaho tops the nation in job growth

Report: Idaho tops the nation in job growth
Posted at 11:39 AM, May 20, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-20 13:50:05-04

Idaho’s seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate was 3.7 percent in April, declining one-tenth of a percent from March, Idaho Labor Department officials said in a news release.

Month to month, the state’s nonfarm payrolls increased by four-tenths of a percent in April. Job gains in construction, professional and business services, education and health services, and leisure and hospitality offset declines in government and trade, transportation and utilities.

Over the year, Idaho’s seasonally-adjusted nonfarm jobs grew by 25,700 –- or 3.8 percent -- in April.
“Based on revised Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates, Idaho continues to be No. 1 in the nation in percentage increase of jobs -- and has held that position for six straight months. Construction, professional and business services, and leisure and hospitality all experienced over-the-year growth of greater than 5 percent. Information and natural resources were the only industry sectors to show a decline compared to April 2015,” the Labor Department release said.

Nationally, the unemployment rate remained unchanged at five percent -– continuing a trend of relatively stable rates over the past six months.

Total employment for Idaho grew by more than 1,900 to 777,780, as the number of unemployed Idahoans dropped by 700 to 29,830. This is the tenth consecutive month that total unemployment declined.

After a brief slowdown in February (+223) and March (-130), Idaho’s seasonally adjusted labor force increased by 1,100 to 807,600.

April’s labor force participation rate –- the percentage of people 16 years and older with jobs or looking for work -- remained unchanged at 64 percent.

There were 26,700 online postings for Idaho jobs according to The Conference Board. Of those listings, 4,800 were classified by department analysts as “hard-to-fill” -– jobs continuously posted for ninety days or more.
Based on vacancy rates -– a high number of openings compared with the total employment for that occupation -– health care jobs accounted for almost fourteen percent of all total hard-to-fill jobs and included psychiatrists and occupational and physical therapists. Looking at job listings by volume, truck drivers and registered nurses hold the first and second spots for the largest number of hard-to-fill jobs.

Annually, unemployment benefit payments were down from April 2015 by eleven percent -- from $1.9 million a year ago to $1.7 million for April 2016. The number of weeks compensated dropped fifteen percent over the year.

Among Idaho’s 44 counties, 23 had unemployment rates above the state rate. Clark and Madison counties experienced the lowest rates in the state at 2.0 percent and 2.4 percent, respectively. Adams County had the highest rate at 8.1 percent.

The Idaho Falls metropolitan statistical area reported the lowest unemployment rate of all MSAs at 2.9 percent, down from 3.5 percent one year earlier. The Coeur d’Alene MSA experienced the highest unemployment rate among the MSAs at 4.4 percent, down from 4.8 percent the previous April.