Idaho’s Unemployment Rate Falls Slightly In October

Nov 22, 2013

Job seekers speak with potential employers at a Meridian, Idaho job fair.
Credit Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

Idaho's jobless rate held steady in September, and dropped slightly in October. The Idaho Labor Department reports the unemployment rate was unchanged from August to September at 6.8 percent. It fell in October to 6.7 percent.

Normally, jobless rates come out once a month. Friday’s two-for-one report was released because of the partial government shutdown over the first two weeks of October.

Labor Department spokesman Bob Uhlenkott says that prevented the agency from putting out the September rate on time. He says that’s because the department uses national data to put together Idaho's unemployment rate.

Uhlenkott says the numbers show growth slowed since August. “It stabilized in September, it slowed a little bit in October,” says Uhlenkott. “That was obviously due to the government shutdown and some insecurities in the private sector of what’s going on with the government shutdown and so hiring likely slowed a little bit due to that.”

Uhlenkott says analysts expected the partial government shutdown to have a more negative impact than it did. “Idaho’s economy handled the government shutdown pretty well. There was a noticeable lull, but it appears to not to have been significant.”

He says overall, Idaho’s job growth is coming in ahead of the nation. “We’ve grown in between 2 and 3 percent over the last several months, and the nation’s growing in between 1 and 2 percent on average across most of the states,” says Uhlenkott. “So as far as pure job growth, we are growing faster than the nation.”

But Uhlenkott says it’s important to look at what kinds of jobs Idaho is attracting. “We’re seeing a lot in the retail sector, service sector, such as call centers. That’s where most of the growth is.” But Uhlenkott says construction jobs are a little bit ahead of the forecast. It’s growing around 6 percent. “That’s nice to see the construction industry come out of its lull, because those are high paying jobs.”

Unemployment fell in 28 U.S. states last month, and employers added jobs in 34 states. The gains suggest recent improvements in the job market have occurred in most regions of the country.

The unemployment rate nationally ticked up to 7.3 percent from 7.2 percent in October, in part because of the partial government shutdown.

Copyright 2013 Boise State Public Radio