Total employment in Idaho set yet another record in July, marking the third straight month that the number of Idaho workers on the job has been at a new high.
The Department of Labor forecast July employment at 610,000, up nearly 1,000 from the previous record in June despite only a fractional increase in the total labor force.
That left civilian unemployment at 4.9 percent, unchanged from June and two-tenths of a point below the year-earlier rate.
“Modest employment growth occurred in several sectors of the state economy,” analysts said. “Overall, the slow but steady growth experienced in the first two quarters of 1997 has continued into the third.”
They pointed out, however, that many sectors are at their employment peak for the summer while the state has not seen the normal increase in federal employment because the fire season has been so mild.
The stability of Idaho’s labor picture was similar to the one nationally where the jobless rate returned to a near 24-year low of 4.8 percent after blipping higher in June. Businesses told the government they added 100,000 more jobs than economists had expected during the past month.
It was the fifth month this year that Idaho employment has been over 600,000, indicating that the work force has moved past that milestone for good.
But the total employment figure is likely overstated because of the high number of workers who have second jobs. The Census Bureau estimates that 56,000 Idaho workers have more than one job, ranking Idaho seventh nationally in the number of people with second jobs.
The state’s solid job market has been underscored by the significant growth in personal income tax revenues so far this year. Through June, individual income tax collections were over $18 million higher than economists had projected.
Some 22,000 more people were employed in July than a year earlier when the labor force was markedly smaller and the jobless rate nearly a quarter point higher.
After seven months, unemployment across the state has averaged less than 5.1 percent, the record low set in 1989. The average jobless rate last year was 5.2 percent.
Regionally, the unemployment rates for July, June and July 1996 were:
Panhandle, 8.4 percent, 8.4 percent, 8.4 percent.
Lewiston area, 3.5 percent, 3.2 percent, 4.1 percent.
Ada-Canyon counties, 3.6 percent, 3.5 percent, 3.8 percent.
Magic Valley, 4.2 percent, 4.1 percent, 4.2 percent.
Pocatello area, 5.3 percent, 5.3 percent, 5.1 percent.
Idaho Falls area, 4.1 percent, 3.9 percent, 4.5 percent.
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