Kootenai County added 900 jobs last year, a gain that occurred despite skilled labor shortages in the area.
The number of jobs grew at a “healthy rate” of 2.3 percent during 2017, said Sam Wolkenhauer, regional economist for the Idaho Department of Labor. The gains occurred across a wide array of industries, including health care, construction and manufacturing, he said.
Employers were hiring despite a competitive skilled-labor market, Wolkenhauer said. Kootenai County’s unemployment rate was 3.8 percent in December.
Much of Idaho reported strong job growth last year. Total employment grew at a rate of 3.3 percent, with an increase of 26,241 jobs statewide. Some of the strongest gains came in health care and education jobs, state officials said.
The state’s labor force also grew in 2017, but not enough to move the needle on Idaho’s low unemployment rate, official said.
Idaho finished the year with a 2.9 percent unemployment rate in December. The rate had held at 2.9 percent for three months, after hitting a record low of 2.8 percent in September.
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