Bringing the Economy Home

Idaho’s Unemployment Rate Holds Steady As Labor Force Shrinks

Molly Messick / StateImpact Idaho

Idaho's housing sector has shown signs of improvement, but the monthly jobs report attributes the state's flat unemployment rate to a contracting workforce.

Idaho’s jobless rate remained flat last month, at 6.2 percent. The Idaho Department of Labor’s monthly report says the rate is holding steady despite anemic hiring because of an ongoing decline in the size of the state’s workforce.

Total employment fell by about 600 people in March, even as employers hired about 13,000 workers, according to the report.

Since December of last year, more than 2,600 people have dropped out of Idaho’s workforce.  That reverses gains made in 2012 as the economy showed signs of recovery.  It means the state’s labor force is about the same size as it was in 2011. 

The number of government workers in the state continues to contract, the Department of Labor report says. The state’s manufacturing sector showed modest growth last month.

Three Idaho counties, Shoshone, Benewah and Clearwater, posted double-digit unemployment rates in March. Clearwater County’s was highest, at 12.5 percent.

The national unemployment rate ticked down to 7.6 percent.


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