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Idaho’s job vacancy rate remains low

Idaho's latest job vacancy survey confirms the state’s current labor market is still tight, but there are more new jobs being created now than a year ago, the Idaho Department of Labor said today.

The Idaho 2011 Job Vacancy Survey found 1.7 vacant jobs for every 100 filled jobs, a rate of 1.7 percent for total vacancies statewide of just over 10,000. That compared to a rate of 1.8 percent in the 2010 vacancy survey, for about 500 additional openings, the agency said in a news release.

But four of every 10 vacancies were for newly created jobs this year. That was nearly double the number last year, suggesting employers are beginning to expand payrolls following the worst recession since World War II.

The survey results are based on responses in May through mid-June from about 3,100 of Idaho’s 54,000 businesses, which averaged 609,000 jobs during the spring quarter.

The labor department further reported:

Nearly one in three of the businesses surveyed reported having trouble finding applicants with the specific education, experience, training and skills needed for the jobs they were trying fill. Thirty-six percent of the openings required some form of certification, up from 33 percent a year earlier, and 31 percent required some education or training beyond high school compared to 27 percent in the 2010 survey.

One in seven employers also said the work ethic of people they did hire was unacceptable and cited social skills, appearance, attitude and dependability.

The survey found two of every three openings were full time, slightly higher than the 2010 survey, and three of every four were permanent, about 10 points higher than a year earlier.

The median wage for the openings reported in 2011 was $10 an hour, up from $9.30 an hour in 2010, and significantly more of the open jobs carried benefits than a year earlier, an indication employers were beginning to compete for the best workers.

Transportation and warehousing, health care, hotels and restaurants, information and professional, scientific and technical services had the highest vacancy rates of all the industry sectors. Each was 2 percent or higher, and a quarter to half of those openings were newly created.

Unlike the 2010 survey, the vacancies were more evenly spread around the state, ranging from 1.5 percent to 1.8 percent. The highest number of vacancies was again in southwestern Idaho, which includes the Boise area with the bulk of the state’s population. In 2010 the regional rates ranged from 2.5 percent in north central and east central Idaho to 1.4 percent in south central Idaho.

Click here for the full report.

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Scott Maben
Scott Maben joined The Spokesman-Review in 2006. He currently is the Business Editor.

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