BOISE — Idaho’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 3.1% in April, dropping slightly from 3.2% in March.

The state’s seasonally adjusted labor force increased by 969 to 900,324, marking the first increase for Idaho’s labor force this year.

The total number of working Idahoans grew by 1,603 to 872,168, while the number of unemployed dropped slightly from 28,815 in March to 28,156.

Idaho’s April labor force participation rate – the percentage of people 16 years and older with jobs or looking for work – was 62.7%, down slightly from 62.8%.

An addition of 600 non-farm jobs brought April’s total non-farm payrolls to 784,900. Six industries experienced substantial job gains, led by information (+2.8%), natural resources (+2.6%), and leisure & hospitality (+1.2), with moderate gains for state government (+0.9%), federal government (+0.7%), and trade, transportation and utilities (+0.3). Manufacturing (-0.6%), education and health services (-0.5%), and local government (-0.5%) all showed slight declines.

Three of Idaho’s five Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs) saw non-farm job gains from March to April 2021. Lewiston saw the largest increase at 1.4%, while Boise and Idaho Falls each experienced a slight increase of 0.1%. Coeur d’Alene and Pocatello experienced job losses at -0.9% and -0.5% respectively.

Year over Year

Year over year, April’s labor market changes are dramatic and represent the magnitude of Idaho’s rebound to economic recovery.

Idaho’s labor force is the only exception and did not experience a sharp decline during the pandemic. The number of people actively working or seeking work continued to show year-over-year gains, up 2.7% (+23,796) over April of 2020 to 900,324.

Idaho’s non-farm jobs are up 13.1% (91,100) over last year, with every sector showing year-over-year gains after a precipitous loss of 61,700 jobs (-8.2%) in April 2020. Leisure and hospitality’s increase of 33,900 jobs (+67%) dwarfed the job growth for the two sectors with the next largest increases - trade, transportation and utilities up by 20,500 (15.2%), and construction up 6,300 (+11.9%). Leisure and hospitality was the industry most affected by pandemic-related job losses and is now only 300 jobs below its February 2020 pre-pandemic level.

All five of Idaho’s Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs) saw year-to-year non-farm job gains greater than 10%. Coeur d’Alene saw the greatest increase at 16.6%. Pocatello (+13%), Idaho Falls (+12.9%), Boise (+12.5%) and Lewiston (+10.2) also saw substantial increases, though their rate of year-to-year growth was slightly slower than the state as a whole.

As more people returned to work, the number of unemployed Idahoans dropped by 72.2%, from a historic high of 101,309 in April 2020 to only 28,156 in April of this year.

Today, Idaho’s total employment number is up +12.5% (96,949) to 872,168, recovering from the pandemic low of 775,219 in April 2020.

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