Warm Springs Construction

Idaho's construction industry showed an 8.2% year-over-year increase in job gains in February.

Idaho’s unemployment rate dropped to 3.3% in February, down slightly from a revised rate of 3.5% in January, the state Department of Labor reported.

The February figure shows continued improvement from a historically high jobless rate of 11.6% last April.

The department had previously calculated January’s unemployment rate at 3.4%.

Idaho’s nonfarm payrolls edged upward by 1,200 people, leveling off after January’s gain of 4,500. The state’s labor force remained virtually unchanged in February at 899,796, down from 900,205 in January, the department reported.

The total number of working Idahoans increased by 912 in February to 870,056. The total number of unemployed Idahoans dropped 4.5% to 29,740.

February’s labor force participation rate—the percentage of people 16 and older with jobs or looking for work—was 62.9%, down slightly from 63.1% in January.

The additional 1,200 nonfarm jobs brought February’s total to 781,300 (up 0.2%), the department reported. Two industry sectors experienced modest job gains from January—trade, transportation and utilities (up 0.7%) and education and health services (up 0.8%). Five industry sectors were unchanged from January and four saw over-the-month declines totaling 700 jobs, including manufacturing (down 0.3%) and government (down 0.2%).

Nonfarm jobs were up by 7,900 over February 2020, representing a year-over-year increase of 1%. Five industries showed job gains, led by construction (up 8.2%), financial activities (up 6.7%) and trade, transportation and utilities (up 5.1%). The four industries hit hardest by pandemic job losses—information (down 13.8%), general services (down 6.0%), leisure and hospitality (down 2.9%) and education and health services (down 0.6%)—were below year-ago levels. Government employment also experienced a year-over-year loss of 1.4%.

Blaine County’s unemployment rate was 4.7% in December, the last month for which county data is available.

Nationally, February’s unemployment rate dropped slightly, from 6.3% to 6.2%, with the number of unemployed decreasing by 158,000 to 10 million. Total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 379,000 to 143.0 million for February, but the number of employed nationwide was still 6.2%—or 9.5 million—below its pre-pandemic level in February 2020.

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