New data from the Idaho Department of Labor shows a continuing decline in the state’s unemployment rate.
The unemployment rate in Idaho was 2.7 percent in September – a full percentage point below the national average. With the local rate sitting under 3 percent for more than a year and tumbling from 2.9 percent in July to last month’s 2.7, it begs the labor limbo question: How low can it go?
“I don’t have a good answer for that,” Karen Jarboe Singletary says with a chuckle. She’s a research analyst at the Idaho Department of Labor. She might not have a good answer, but she says this is about as low as it goes.
“Even 3 percent where we were for over a year is lower than what economists call full employment,” she says.
That crunch means employers are having to court workers and compete against each other to fill jobs.
Jarboe Singletary says companies looking to hire seasonal workers for the holidays could have a tough time staffing up. However, she points to a recent slowdown in the number of people joining the workforce as something not to overlook.
“That suggests that there might be people who are out there who might be enticed to come back into the labor force,” the analyst says.
Retailers Target and J.C. Penney announced they’re going on a seasonal hiring spree, as are UPS and FedEx.
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