Idaho’s unemployment rate drops to record low

The Idaho Department of Labor reported an unemployment rate of 2.4% in December, an all-time low. Last month’s rate fell two-tenths of a point to a record high, beating a rate of 2.5% in December 2019.

Gov. Brad Little jumped on the news with a statement touting his administration’s conservative leadership, “Idaho’s economy is booming and people are working at historic rates,” he said. “Thank you to Idaho workers and employers, big and small, for our success! »

The state’s workforce, which is the total number of employed and working-age residents looking for work, rose slightly last month to more than 909,000. That’s a slight increase from November, but a 1% growth from December 2020. But that’s only 62.2% of the total number of Idahoans eligible for work, the percentage called the labor force participation rate. ‘work. In Idaho, voter turnout is down 63.2% over the past 12 months.

A falling labor force participation rate can sometimes artificially lower the overall unemployment rate. Indeed, people who are not actively looking for a job are not considered unemployed. The increase in the number of retired baby boomers is one of the reasons labor force participation rates have declined in recent years. Workers leaving the workforce to stay home and care for children is another. Other workers may not want to keep their jobs during the pandemic because they are at high risk of catching COVID-19.

The Idaho Department of Labor said the numbers are a sign of a still-tight labor market.

Nonfarm job growth here exceeded seasonal expectations in December, with 2,000 new jobs and a total of 790,500 nonfarm positions statewide.

The data of the conference board, a nonprofit business research group, shows 2.3 open jobs for each of the more than 22,000 Idaho residents currently unemployed and looking for work.

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