Businesses hired at or just below their May average for the past five years, maintaining Idaho’s steady economic recovery and driving the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate below 5 percent for the first time in nearly six years.
Total employment increased another 1,000 from April to May, eclipsing 741,000 for the ninth record in as many months.
That was enough to accommodate the entry of 2,000 more workers into the labor force, holding the state’s labor force participation rate at 63.8 percent of all residents over age 15. Job generation by Idaho employers pulled another 1,000 workers off the unemployment rolls, dropping the number of jobless workers below 38,000 for the first time since July 2008.
Idaho’s economy has added 29,000 jobs since January, and total employment has risen every month since mid-2012. Financial services, real estate, information, health care, natural resources, mining, hotels and restaurants all generated jobs at just above the five-year average for May. Manufacturing, retail trade and transportation maintained the average, and only business services, private education services, construction and government fell short of their five-year performance.
Only four counties – Jefferson, Jerome, Owyhee and Power – saw jobless rates increase from April to May, but all 44 counties posted declines in unemployment from May 2013. Clearwater was the only county with a double-digit percentage unemployment rate at 10 percent. The last time the state saw only one county in double digits was July 2008.
Eighteen counties had rates above 4.9 percent, down from 21 in April and 39 in May 2013. The lowest rate was 2.4 percent in Franklin County, and that was up a tenth from April’s rate.
Idaho County sat at 6.7 percent unemployment this month while it was at 7.1 percent the previous month.