Idaho’s May unemployment rate drops to 3%



IDAHO FALLS, Idaho (KIFI) – Idaho’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate fell from 3.1% in April to 3% in May.

Total employment rose to 874,143, up 0.2% (+1,978), while total unemployment fell 3% (-865) to 27,351.

May’s labor force and stable participation rate continued to benefit from population growth. Idaho’s labor force grew by a tenth of a percent to 901,494, marking two straight months of gains. The participation rate remained unchanged at 62.7%.

Idaho’s non-farm payroll employment fell to 782,700, down 0.2% (-1,900) from 784,600. Six industries saw significant job losses, including natural resources (- 2.5%), construction (-1.2%), other services (-1.2%), leisure and hotels (-0.5%), professional and commercial services (-0, 4%), and trade, transport and public services (-0.3%). Education and health services (+ 0.3%) and general government (+ 0.1%) were the only two industries to post job gains. Manufacturing, information and financial activities have not changed.

Two of Idaho’s five Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSA) recorded gains in off-farm employment. Jobs in Idaho Falls rose 0.3%, followed by Boise at 0.2%. Lewiston, Pocatello and Coeur d’Alene all recorded job losses of -1%, -0.5% and -0.1% respectively.

Year after year

May’s year-over-year labor market figures continue to demonstrate the extent of Idaho’s rebound towards recovery.

Total unemployment fell 62.7% (-45,899) to 27,351 as unemployed Idahoans returned to work, pushing the number of people working to 8.1% (+65,148) to 874,143.

Idaho’s non-farm jobs continued to post healthy gains during the year, up 8.9% (+63,900), with each sector posting increases. Leisure and hospitality – the industry most affected during the pandemic – is 37% higher than a year ago and is up 4.1% from pre-pandemic levels in February 2020.

Idaho’s five metropolitan statistical areas (MSA) recorded year-over-year non-farm employment gains of over 7%. Coeur d’Alene jobs posted the largest increase at 10.6%, followed by Idaho Falls (+ 9.7%), Pocatello (+ 8.9%), Boise (+ 8.7%) and Lewiston (+ 7.5%).

The state’s labor force – the only indicator that did not see a sharp decline during the pandemic – also posted gains from May 2020, up 2.2% (+19,249) to 901,494 .

National comparisons

Nationally, the unemployment rate in May fell from 6.1% to 5.8%, as the number of unemployed fell from 486,000 to 9.3 million. The country’s labor force has fallen from 53,000 to 160.9 million. Total non-farm payroll employment increased from 559,000 to 144.9 million.


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