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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Idaho labor force tightens as jobless rate scrapes bottom

From staff reports

The number of unemployed Idahoans and those looking for work fell further in April, constricting an already tight labor market.

The state’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate fell to 3.4 percent. A year ago, the April rate was 3.8 percent, according to data from the Idaho Department of Labor.

The labor force dropped by 2,500 last month, the second consecutive decline after 48 months of increases, while the number of unemployed dropped by 1,500, the state reported. Combined with a slight decrease of 950 in total employment, the state’s unemployment rate was pushed down by one-tenth of 1 percent from March.

Since April 2016, nonfarm payroll jobs have increased 2.6 percent, showing a net gain of 18,300 jobs and ranking third in the nation for percentage growth, tying with Florida and Georgia.

Three industry sectors experienced larger-than-normal gains in April: leisure and hospitality (up 1,400), manufacturing (up 1,200) and education and health services (up 1,000).

Losses were recorded for professional and business services (down 1,700); trade, transportation and utilities (down 300); financial activities (down 200); and construction (down 200).

More than 17,200 Idaho jobs were posted online in April, according to the Conference Board. Of those, 3,500 were classified as hard to fill. Health care-related jobs – physicians, surgeons, psychiatrists, occupational and physical therapists and support positions – accounted for 14 percent of all hard-to-fill jobs.

By volume, registered nurses and truck drivers maintained their perpetual first and second spots for the largest number of job listings.

Lewiston experienced the strongest seasonally adjusted year-over-year percentage growth of 3.9 percent, or 1,100 jobs, followed closely by the Boise metro area with 3.6 percent, or 10,800 jobs.

Two counties in North Idaho have unemployment rates above 6 percent: Benewah (6.9 percent) and Shoshone (6.5 percent).

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