Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Idaho jobless rate up slightly in July

State’s trend mirrors rest of nation


By EXPRESS STAFF

    Idaho employers created jobs at a stronger rate during the first half of the year than previously estimated, regaining the number of jobs lost to the recession and in a mix of industries that has changed, the Idaho Department of Labor reported this week.
    Jobs slipped slightly in July as they have every July except for two years since 1990. Even with a July total above the prerecession peak, the slippage—combined with a modest labor force increase—was enough to push Idaho’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate up to 4.8 percent, compared to 6.3 percent for July of 2013.
    It was the first monthly rate increase since August 2010, and it mirrored the national jobless rate, which rose slightly to 6.2 percent. Idaho’s rate has been below the national rate for nearly 13 years.
    Monthly job growth in 2014, previously estimated at about 2 percent higher than 2013, actually ranged between 2.5 percent and 3.2 percent, sitting at 2.7 percent in July—17,000 above last year and about 1,000 above the previous July high in 2007, not seasonally adjusted.  
    Still, even with intensified job growth, Idaho’s economy continued moving toward services, the Labor Department reported. Since January, nearly 31,000 jobs have been created with 9,000 in goods production, which averaged $12,000 a year more in pay in 2013. Before the recession, nearly 20 percent of all jobs were in goods production—primarily construction and manufacturing. Today, only 15.8 percent are in goods production.
    Based on July figures, the recession claimed 52,700 jobs—nearly 37,000 in goods production and 16,000 in services. The recovery generated almost 43,000 service jobs – 260 percent of the loss—but only 13,000 in goods production—35 percent. The shift toward services reflects Idaho’s return to more rapid population growth that seems to be weighted to retirees.
    Idaho’s labor force participation rate for July—the percentage of adults who are working or actively looking for work—dropped another tenth of a percentage point to 63.6 percent.
    Total employment, which includes self-employed and unpaid family workers, was essentially unchanged from May and June at just under 741,800—almost 15,000 more than a year earlier. It was not enough to accommodate 100 new entrants into the labor force, moving the unemployment rate slightly higher. The number of unemployed, which dropped every month since July 2011, increased just over 100 to more than 37,000.    
    Overall hiring—almost exclusively to replace workers who retired or left the job for other reasons—was over 18,000 in July, the highest July level since 2006 but about 3,800 below June’s hiring total.





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