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More jobs in Idaho in July, but month-to-month unemployment rate also rose

While the state's unemployment rate ticked up from month-to-month, it has dropped significantly over the past year.

BOISE, Idaho — More people in Idaho were looking for work in July compared to June, but more people found jobs, too. That led to a slight increase in the unemployment rate from month-to-month, but a look at the numbers beyond that shows job growth continues in Idaho.

The Idaho Department of Labor's latest monthly report shows the total number of Idahoans employed or looking for work grew to 952,500 in July. Out of that total workforce, 24,526 were looking for work. The total workforce increased by 3,938 people compared to June -- of those counted in the increase, 3,364 were employed and 574 were unemployed and looking.

The state's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate increased to 2.6% in July, up a tenth of a percentage point from June.

One reason for the higher unemployment rate: more people in Idaho were actively seeking a job. That's indicated by a month-to-month increase in labor force participation -- from 62.5% in June to 62.6% in July. The participation rate is based on the civilian noninstitutional population 16 years or older working or actively looking for work. The remaining 37.4% are not looking for work for a number of reasons, including staying at home to raise children, retirement, school enrollment or becoming discouraged with the job search.

Nonfarm industry sectors showing the greatest month-to-month gains include health care and social services (2.8%); federal government (1.6%); private educational services (1.5%); arts, entertainment and recreation (1.3%); durable goods manufacturing (1.2%); information (1.2%); professional and business services (0.9%); transportation, warehousing and utilities (0.6%); and local government (0.5%).

Industries that saw declines in July included other services (-2.7%); accommodation and food services (0.8%); wholesale trade (-0.6%); and financial activities (-0.3%).

Five of Idaho's six Metropolitan Statistical Areas saw month-to-month nonfarm job growth. The Boise area had the greatest increase, at 0.6%. Twin Falls had no noticeable month-to-month change in July, the labor department said.

Year-over-year numbers show the unemployment rate was down a full percentage point compared to July 2021. Also, the total workforce increased by 33,593 people over the past year, with the number of unemployed Idahoans decreasing by 8,578 (-26.3%) and employed Idahoans increasing by 42,351 (4.8%).

To paint a picture of job openings vs. job seekers, the Idaho Dept. of Labor cites Help Wanted Online, which had 63,010 online job postings in Idaho during July, equivalent to 2.6 job openings for every unemployed Idahoans looking for work.

Nationally, the unemployment rate dropped to 3.5% in July. It was 3.6% in June. The number of unemployed U.S. residents decreased by 166,228 to 5.7 million, and total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 528,000 to 152.5 million -- just above pre-pandemic levels.

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