Idaho often finds itself near the bottom of national ranks for wages, but the Gem State leads the country in a positive statistic: job growth rate.
Idaho added 27,500 jobs from January 2016 to January 2017 for the nation’s best 4 percent increase, according to the Idaho Department of Labor.
Jobs in the Treasure Valley grew by 4.8 percent, the highest of any metro area in the state.
The construction industry, which faces a labor shortage that stalled several high-profile commercial projects, led all sectors with 4,500 new jobs, up 11.2 percent. The financial sector, which includes workers in banks and credit unions, investment firms and insurance carriers, added 2,000 jobs, or 6 percent growth.
The state’s unemployment rate held steady at 3.6 percent in January, meaning almost anybody who is unemployed and looking for work will find a job, said Craig Shaul, Labor’s research analyst supervisor.
“The further it progresses lower than 3.6 percent, the greater challenge it will be for employers to fill empty positions because there is just not a sufficient workforce available to them,” he said.
Labor had more than 19,200 jobs posted on its website in January. Of those, 28.5 percent were related to health care, including physicians, surgeons, psychiatrists, occupational and physical therapists and support positions. By volume, registered nurses and truck drivers maintained the first and second spots for the largest number of jobs designated as “hard to fill.”
Idaho’s average per-capita income was $38,392 in 2015, or 80 percent of the national average according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis’ most recent count in 2015.
The worker shortage should mean improving wages, Shaul said.
“As employers compete for talent, wages will be a key component in attracting a candidate to their business over a competitor,” he said.
Zach Kyle: 208-377-6464, @ZachKyleNews