TWIN FALLS — When Sayrd Iverson began hiring this summer for her company’s 445 new positions in Twin Falls, unemployment was low and still dropping.
But it seems to be getting easier to find applicants.
“It seemed like it had really thinned out a little bit — and then I was back to hiring 10 people a day,” said Iverson, the talent acquisition manager for C3/CustomerContactChannels.
Over the past month, she’s seen people coming out of seasonal harvest positions, as well as people who have moved to Twin Falls from Mini-Cassia and out-of-state.
Data from the Idaho Department of Labor shows that as the area sees an influx in people 16 and older coming into the workforce, unemployment has risen, too. Seasonally adjusted data released Friday shows south-central Idaho’s eight counties have a 2.6 percent unemployment rate in October, compared with 2.4 percent in September, as nearly 260 more people were unemployed.
It’s welcome news from employers who’ve been struggling to fill positions when the number of people looking for work has been low.
“We’re looking forward to a time when it’s not that low,” said Jan Roeser, regional economist for the Idaho Department of Labor.
The region’s labor force, meanwhile, increased slightly over the month and is up 1.2 percent from a year ago. A gain of 1,172 people has brought the civilian labor force in south-central Idaho to 99,065.
Statewide, unemployment edged up to 2.9 percent as the labor participation rate — the percentage of people 16 and older who are working or looking for work — increased to 63.5 percent. Roeser said this could be a result of mothers and retirees starting to look for jobs again, incentivized by an overall increase in wages.
“Age doesn’t seem to hold people back much anymore,” she said.
The shift over the past month alone was highly unusual, as the number of unemployed people in the region rose 11 percent from September to October.
“We haven’t really seen a big increase in that in this time period, between September and October, since the 90s,” Roeser said.
Online job postings, meanwhile are still significantly lower from a year ago. But as companies such as C3, Jayco and McCain Foods prepare for more hiring, Roeser doesn’t think there are fewer jobs out there. The HelpWanted Online job-posting data tracks most Internet sites and does not count duplicate postings — but it also take into account that some postings may be for multiple positions.
Roeser said holiday hiring for retailers kicked off in October.
“The conversation continues to evolve around the workforce issue,” she said.
Iverson said C3 has hired two waves of 20 to 30 people each, and is getting its third wave of hiring started now.
“We are actually doing really well,” she said.
The south-central Idaho county with the highest unemployment was Lincoln County at 3.1 percent. The county with the lowest unemployment was Camas County at 2.1 percent.