Idaho’s unemployment rate remains unchanged in May

Washington unemployment applications

Idaho’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate stayed steady at 2.9 percent in May, continuing a nine-month streak of 3 percent or lower.

The state’s labor force – the total number of people 16 years of age and older working or looking for work – continued to increase, gaining 1,222 people from April to May for a total of 850,605.

Nationally, May’s unemployment rate was 3.8 percent, a decrease of 0.1 percentage point, and the second consecutive over-the-month decrease.

Year over year, Idaho’s statewide labor force was up 2.6 percent (21,462), total employment was up nearly 3 percent (23,504) and the total number of unemployed workers was down 7.7 percent (2,042).

According to the Conference Board, a Washington, D.C., think tank, Idaho’s online job listings were down 1,558 from 25,748 a year ago to 24,190 in May 2018. Of these postings, 5,523 were classified as hard-to-fill, up from 5,372 in May 2017. Hard-to-fill positions are those which are posted continuously for 90 days or more. Health care occupations, including physicians, surgeons, psychiatrists, occupational and physical therapists and support positions, represented about 16 percent of all hard-to-fill online job openings.

Idaho’s monthly total nonfarm job growth remained virtually flat in May with an increase of 400 jobs. Five industry sectors – professional and business services, manufacturing, financial activities, information, and leisure and hospitality – all exceeded seasonal expectations and offset a 2,200 job decrease in five other sectors – education and health services, construction, government, other services, and trade, transportation and utilities. Natural resource jobs remained unchanged.

Year over year, Idaho’s job growth continued to remain strong. Total nonfarm jobs were up by 3.1 percent – for a total of 21,800 jobs – the second-fastest percentage growth in the nation. Of Idaho’s leading industries, construction jobs saw the largest job gain of 6.3 percent followed by natural resources, up 5.7 percent, manufacturing up 5.1 percent, financial activities up 5.1 percent and professional and business services up 3.5 percent. June’s 2018 labor force and nonfarm payroll data for Idaho will be released on July 20.