Demand Rising for Some Occupations in Idaho

Year-over-year statistics show Idaho is seeing employment gains. In October, the unemployment rate was 4.1 percent, down from 5.9 percent a year earlier, but what kind of jobs have been created to reduce the number of unemployed workers?

Based on the Conference Board’s Help Wanted Online database of unique online job postings for October 2014, there were 28,877 job postings, an increase of 4,510 from October 2013.

The Conference Board database, however, does not include all job openings. Many employers recruit by word of mouth or other less-than-public methods, but Conference Board data can provide a snapshot of what jobs are being created in the state. Also, not all postings are to fill new jobs. Most postings are to fill existing jobs opened up by workers leaving for retirement or other opportunities.

In October 2014 heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers and registered nurses topped the list of Idaho job openings. Employers were searching for at least 1,408 drivers and 1,319 nurses, followed by customer service representatives at 956, retail salespeople at 844, first-line retail sale supervisors at 522, insurance agents at 398, maintenance and repair workers at 380 and janitors/cleaners at 366.

A year earlier, the list looked much the same – truck drivers at 1,375, registered nurses at 1,122, retail salespeople at 876, customer service representatives at 677, first-line retail sales supervisors at 607, occupational therapists at 432, wholesale sales representatives at 371 and first-line supervisors of food preparation workers at 350.

Dan chart

Demand for truck drivers is a good sign for Idaho’s economy. Since the majority of manufactured goods and agricultural products move by tractor-trailer at some point before they reach their final destinations, a growing demand for drivers may indicate an increase in goods being shipped in and out of Idaho.

The demand for nurses in Idaho has been increasing for several years, driven by demographics. Idaho’s population is aging, and baby boomers are requiring more health care as they get older.

Rising consumer demand during the economic recovery combined with relatively high turnover rates in comparatively low-paying jobs is responsible for the high demand for retail sales people and their supervisors.

While the Conference Board job posting data do not provide the entire employment picture for the state, they offer some indication of good economic news in the months to come.

Dan.Cravens@labor.idaho.gov,
regional economist (208) 236-6710 ext. 3713