Idaho saw more people in the workforce in the month of May, but many of those jobs are thanks in part to the U.S. Census program. The Idaho Department of Labor (IDL) reported Friday that the jobless rate in the state has decreased for the third month in a row to a flat 9 percent.
Idaho's jobless rate had increased for 31 months straight before seeing an increase in March. The rate reached its peak, 9.5 percent, in February, only a month prior to the first reported increases. The private sector gained approximately 5,000 new jobs, while the government added a little more than 2,000. Most of those jobs are attributable to the census, which has hired workers to go door-to-door gathering information. Most of those jobs are temporary and will end in coming weeks.
Nationally, the Census Bureau hired about 549,000 temporary workers, many of whom were brought on during the month of May. The U.S. Department of Labor reported a drop in the national jobless rate from 9.9 percent to 9.7 percent in the month. Across the nation, the bureau reported hiring 431,000 workers in May, while private companies added 41,000 new employees. May represented the 104th straight month in which Idaho's jobless rate was lower than national numbers.
Counties around the state appear to be on the rebound from high unemployment, but progress is slow. Valley County, which had Idaho's highest unemployment rate, saw a decline from 14.3 to 11.3 percent. The state also saw four counties drop back into the single digits in unemployment in their respective areas. Two counties - Clark and Oneida - saw improvements which pushed their jobless rates under 5 percent.
While figures show progress and growth are slowly appearing, the state still has a large number of citizens out of work. According to IDL, more than 68,000 Idahoans were without employment in May.