Bringing the Economy Home

Idaho’s Labor Force Drops To Two-Year Low, Jobless Rate Unchanged

Molly Messick / StateImpact Idaho

Wells Fargo representative Josh Plummer talked to dozens of would-be call center workers at a recent job fair in Boise.

Idaho’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate stayed at 6.1 percent in April as the state’s labor force continued to shrink.

The Idaho Department of Labor reports 1,300 people left the workforce last month. That’s four straight months of labor force decline. Idaho’s workforce is now at its lowest level in two years.

The Department says more than one third of the 16,000 new hires in April were for newly created jobs.

Analysts say the continued labor force decline and the drop in total employment are further proof young workers are leaving the state to find jobs while retirees from other states are moving to Idaho.

“Should this population shift persist, it could aggravate Idaho’s structural shift toward service sector jobs, which has accelerated since the end of the 2001 recession. That shift from 82 percent to over 85 percent of all jobs in the last decade is economically significant because service-sector jobs on average pay $10,000 a year less than jobs in goods production.” – Idaho Dept. of Labor

At 12.7 percent, Adams and Clearwater counties had the state’s highest jobless rate in April. Franklin and Oneida counties had the lowest, at 4 percent.

The U.S. jobless rate in April was 7.5 percent. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 40 states posted unemployment rate declines while the rate increased in three states.


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