End-of-year ID unemployment holds steady: Growth in government jobs, decline in arts, entertainment and recreation

By Reader Staff

The percentage of unemployed Idahoans stayed steady in December 2023 at 3.3% — a figure carried over from November with a number of trends canceling each other out.

While overall employment increased 0.1% month-over-month by 1,178 to 942,919 (spurred by statewide growth in the number of eligible workers), the labor participation rate fell from 62.5% to 62.4%. Labor participation rate is the percentage of residents 16 or older who are either working or looking for employment.

According to new numbers released Jan. 19 by the Idaho Department of Labor, federal and state government employment led the industry sectors with the greatest job growth between November and December, rising 1.4% and 1.2%, respectively. Employment in the information sector grew 1%, followed by transportation, warehousing and utilities, with an increase of 0.6%.

Nonfarm jobs in Idaho fell by an overall 400 to 862,400 in December, with the biggest losses occurring in arts, entertainment and recreation (-2.3%); private educational services (-1.6%); nondurable goods manufacturing (-0.7%); professional and business services (-0.6%); and wholesale trade (-0.5%).

Three of Idaho’s six metropolitan areas had over-the-month nonfarm job increases in December: Pocatello with 0.5%, followed by Coeur d’Alene (0.4%) and Idaho Falls (0.1%). Boise saw a decrease of 0.2% while Lewiston and Twin Falls were unchanged.

The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for Bonner County was 4.4% — identical to Boundary County — while Kootenai County’s rate was 3.8%. Shoshone County’s rate was among the highest, at 5.1% and Clearwater County topped the state with 6.6% unemployed in December.

While Idaho’s 2023 jobless rate is lower than the national figure of 3.7%, it is an increase year-over-year from 2.8% in 2022.

Looking back on the changes in the workforce from 2022 to 2023, the Labor Department reported that 20,764 new residents joined the working population — an increase of 2.2% — which offset an increase of 6,264 in unemployed Idahoans. Total nonfarm jobs increased 3%, or 25,000, during the year period, with most sectors seeing growth except nondurable goods manufacturing, which fell 5.8%.

Arts, entertainment and recreation also experienced a steep decline year-over-year of 4.4%, followed by real estate, rental and leasing with a decrease of 2.6%. Retail trade fell 1.3% and administrative, support and waste management services dropped 0.2%.

All of Idaho’s MSAs saw year-over-year nonfarm job gains in December. Pocatello had the greatest increase at 4.8%, followed by Idaho Falls (4.3%), Boise (3.3%), Coeur d’Alene

(3.3%), Twin Falls (2.8%) and Lewiston (1%).

The Labor Department plans to release labor force and nonfarm jobs data for January 2024 on March 11.

Get more info at lmi.idaho.gov.

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