Unemployment, employment

A job seeker fills out an application during a National Career Fairs job fair in April 2015 in Chicago.

M. Spencer Green, AP Photo,

TWIN FALLS — Idaho’s unemployment rate shrunk in September to the lowest ever recorded, the Idaho Department of Labor reported Friday.

The 2.8 percent seasonally adjusted unemployment rate hasn’t happened since the state began tracking unemployment in 1976. Total employment also grew by 4,154 — the largest monthly increase since July 1993. More than 800,000 people in Idaho have jobs.

In south-central Idaho, unemployment rose one-tenth of a percent to 2.4 percent, but that’s hardly a bad sign for workers. While job listings are on the decline, employers are still looking for candidates.

Another positive for the region: Labor force grew by almost 1 percent from August, with year-over-year growth of 1.3 percent exceeding the state-wide labor force growth rate. In fact, every south-central Idaho county gained workers in September.

“We know that positions are being filled,” Idaho Department of Labor Regional Economist Jan Roeser said. “It’s not simple, but they’re getting it done.”

In Cassia County, unemployment of 2.2 percent is “certainly a double-edged sword,” Burley’s economic development director, Doug Manning, said.

“It’s a good thing that people are employed, but we need more people,” he said. “I think if you don’t have a job right now, it means you’re either not looking for one, or you don’t want one.”

Twin Falls County’s unemployment is at 2.5 percent. The county’s workforce gained more than 300 people in August and is up nearly 400 people from one year ago.

Twin Falls Economic Development Director Nathan Murray said the city is in a period of growth, productivity and vibrancy. The city is coordinating recruitment efforts with the hospital and the college.

State officials are taking the news of record-low unemployment as an indicator of Idaho’s “pro-growth climate.”

“Idaho continues to be a national leader in growth in jobs and incomes,” Lt. Gov. Brad Little said in a statement. “But we cannot let our foot off the gas. We must work with local leadership, the business community, and entrepreneurs in every part of the state, ensuring no community in Idaho is left behind.

“Fortunately, the upward pressure of growing employment gives us the opportunity to focus our efforts on those rural economies and communities which are not growing as fast as other parts of Idaho.”

Here’s a breakdown of September’s unemployment rate in the eight counties of south-central Idaho:

Blaine: 2.3 percent

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Camas: 2.1 percent

Cassia: 2.2 percent

Gooding: 2.2 percent

Jerome: 2.4 percent

Lincoln: 2.5 percent

Minidoka: 2.4 percent

Twin Falls: 2.5 percent

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