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Idaho’s January unemployment rate drops to 3%


IDAHO FALLS, Idaho (KIFI) – Idaho’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 3% in January – down slightly from a revised December rate of 3.1%.

Due to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ annual benchmarking process, December 2021’s unemployment rate was revised from a record low 2.4%.

This realignment of labor market variables is not an indicator of any negative directional changes in the state’s economy.

The number of Idahoans employed or looking for work grew by 2,743 people (0.3%) to 924,469 – a larger over-the-month increase than during any month of 2021.

Labor force participation remained steady between December and January at 61.8% – an indication of a persistently tight labor market. Idaho’s peak participation rate reached 71.4% in September 1998.

Total employment grew by 4,097 to 896,958, up 0.5%, while total unemployment dropped from December by 1,354 (-4.7%) to 27,511.

Idaho’s nonfarm job growth exceeded seasonal expectations in January, up 4,000 jobs (0.5%) for a total of 810,600. Industry sectors with the greatest over-the-month gains include state government (5.9%); manufacturing (1.3%); transportation, warehousing, and utilities (1.2%); health care and social services (0.9%); financial activities (0.8%) and federal government (0.8%).

Industries with job declines include private educational services (-1.5%); arts, entertainment, and recreation (-0.6%); and retail trade (-0.2%).

Coeur d’Alene and Twin Falls experienced the fastest over-the-month nonfarm job gains among the state’s Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs) with each increasing by 1.2%. Idaho Falls and Lewiston saw the second highest job growth at 1.1% each, followed by Pocatello at 0.5% and Boise at 0.3%.

Year over Year

Idaho’s labor force data for 2021 was revised during the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ annual benchmarking process. This includes revisions to state labor force estimates including population, total employed, unemployed, unemployment rate and total nonfarm jobs.

Idaho’s labor market remains tight with robust over-the-year gains in job growth, total employment and in the number of people entering the labor force.

Idaho’s labor force was up 1.8% from January 2021, an increase of 16,521 people.

Total unemployment dropped 25.1% (-9,236) from January 2021, with the number of working Idahoans up 3% (25,757).

Idaho’s nonfarm job total increased by 4.1% (31,700) over January 2021 and was 4.7% above its February 2020 pre-pandemic peak.

Every major industry sector showed over-the-year job increases in January except for private educational services (-2.2%) and federal government (-1.5%). Leisure and hospitality – the most adversely affected industry during the pandemic – was 9.3% above where it was one year ago.

Four of Idaho’s six MSAs saw year-over-year nonfarm job gains. Idaho Falls saw the largest increase at 3.5%, followed by Twin Falls at 3.1%, Coeur d’Alene with 1.2%, and Boise with 0.9%. Lewiston and Pocatello experienced over-the-year decreases of 2.1% and 1.6% respectively.

National Comparisons

Nationally, unemployment increased from 3.9% in December to 4% in January, with the number of unemployed up 194,000 to 6.5 million. This was driven by the nation’s labor force increasing by 1.4 million to 163.7 million. Total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 581,000 to 149.7 million.

Idaho’s county rates for January-March 2022 will be included in the March employment release scheduled for Friday, April 15.



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