Idaho’s October unemployment rate drops to 2.8%

BOISE — Idaho’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 2.8% in October, down 0.1 percentage points from September. 

The state’s labor force grew by 1,470 (0.2%) people to 907,622 - the second largest over-the-month increase this year. The labor force participation rate remained at 62.4%. 

Total employment grew by 2,270 to 882,543, up 0.3%, while total unemployment dropped 3.2% (-800) to 25,079.

Idaho’s non-farm payroll jobs were 1,300 below seasonal expectations at 785,700 in October, down 0.2% from 787,000 in September. Industries with fewer jobs than expected included information (-3.8%); accommodation and food services (-2.5%); transportation, warehouse and utilities (-1.1%); federal government (-0.8%); professional and business services (-0.4%); retail trade (-0.2%); and financial activities (-0.2%).

Job numbers exceeded seasonal expectations in private educational services  (2.3%); arts, entertainment and recreation (1.4%); manufacturing (1.0%); wholesale trade (0.9%); state government (0.6%); and construction (0.5%).

Lewiston led the state’s Metropolitan Statistical Areas in over-the-month non-farm job growth with a 0.3% increase followed by Boise at 0.1%. Idaho Falls and Pocatello experienced no measurable growth, while Coeur d’Alene saw a loss of 0.1%.

Year over Year

The state’s labor force showed an increase from October 2020, up 0.5% (4,328).

Total unemployment dropped 42.2% (18,279) from October 2020, with the number of working Idahoans up 2.6% (22,607).

Idaho’s non-farm jobs total increased by 2.6% (20,000) over October 2020 and was 1.6% above its February 2020 pre-pandemic peak.

Every major industry sector showed over-the-year increases in October except for manufacturing, which decreased by 0.9%. Leisure and hospitality – the most adversely affected industry during the pandemic – was 7.2% above where it was one year ago.

All five of Idaho’s metropolitan areas saw year-over-year non-farm job gains. Pocatello showed the greatest increase at 5%, followed by Lewiston (3.6%), Coeur d’Alene (2.7%), Idaho Falls (2.7%) and Boise (2.6%).

National Comparisons

Nationally, the unemployment rate saw a solid drop from 4.8% in September to 4.6% in October, with the number of unemployed down 317,924 to 7.4 million. The nation’s labor force decreased by 104,000 to 161.5 million. Total non-farm payroll employment rose by 531,000 to 148.3 million.

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