Idaho logs highest percentage of monthly nonfarm job growth in the nation

State unemployment rate remains 3.3%, though Bonner County reports 4.8% joblessness

By Reader Staff

Idaho’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate has remained both low and consistent, with the Idaho Department of Labor reporting that the May unemployment figure came in at 3.3%, which has not changed since September 2023.

Meanwhile, the state logged the largest percentage increase in nonfarm jobs in the nation in May, adding 7,600 such jobs, or 0.9%, for a total of 871,000.

Overall, Idaho’s labor force grew by 1,679 people (0.2%) to 975,713, while the labor force participation rate — the percentage of people 16 years of age or older who are either employed or looking for work — remained at 62.7% between April and May.

Industry sectors with the greatest over-the-month increases included arts, entertainment and recreation (10.4%); transportation, warehousing and utilities (3%); private educational services (2.9%); state government (1.5%); wholesale trade (1.4%); professional and business services (1.2%); durable goods manufacturing (0.9%); health care and social services (0.9%); real estate rental and leasing (0.9%); and construction (0.7%).

Natural resources, information and federal government sectors experienced job losses in May, declining 2.3%, 2.1% and 1.4%, respectively.

The Lewiston and Pocatello metro areas tied for the largest increase in nonfarm jobs at 1%, followed by Boise (0.9%) and Idaho Falls (0.7%). Twin Falls saw a decrease of 0.4% while Coeur d’Alene was unchanged.

Though the 3.3% unemployment rate has held steady since last September, it’s up from 2.9% in May 2023. However, the labor force grew 1.7% year-over-year, representing an increase of 16,258 people.

The Northern Region — which includes Benewah, Bonner, Boundary, Kootenai and Shoshone counties — experienced 2.2% labor force growth from May 2023 to May 2024 but saw unemployment increase 14.3% during that time, resulting in an overall unemployment rate of 4.4%. The national unemployment rate is 4%.

Bonner County grew its labor force by 1.5% year-over-year in May, but its unemployment rate increased 9.2% during the year-long period for an overall rate of 4.8%. Benewah and Kootenai counties registered unemployment rates of 4.5% and 4.2%, respectively, while Boundary and Shoshone counties had jobless rates of 5.3% and 5.4%, respectively.

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