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News Release Information

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Contacts Technical information: Media contact:
  • (415) 625-2270

Unemployment in the Boise Area by County - December 2015

Three Counties Posted Lower Unemployment Rates than in the Previous Year

In December, Ada County had the lowest unemployment rate in the Boise City, Idaho Metropolitan Statistical Area at 3.2 percent, and Boise County had the highest at 5.9 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Richard J. Holden, the Bureau’s regional commissioner, noted that 3 of the 5 local-area counties had jobless rates equal to or below the national average of 4.8 percent. (See chart 1. The Technical Note at the end of this release contains the metropolitan area definition. All data in this release are not seasonally adjusted; accordingly, over-the-year analysis is used throughout.)

Chart 1. Unemployment rates for the United States and counties in the Boise City, Idaho Metropolitan Statistical Area, December 2015, not seasonally adjusted

In December 2015, 3 of the 5 counties in the Boise City metropolitan area had over-the-year unemployment rate decreases, with the largest decline in Gem County (-0.8 percentage points). Two counties had unemployment rate increases – Owyhee County (+1.8 percentage points) and Boise County (+0.3 point). Nationally, the unemployment rate fell 0.6 percentage point from December a year ago. (See table A).

Table A. Unemployment rates for the United States, the Boise City, Idaho Metropolitan Statistical Area, and its components, not seasonally adjusted
Area Unemployment rate Change from
Dec 2013 Dec 2014 Dec 2015 Dec 2013 to Dec 2015(1) Dec 2014 to Dec 2015(1)

United States

6.5 5.4 4.8 -1.7 -0.6

Boise City, Idaho MSA

5.0 4.0 3.7 -1.3 -0.3

Ada County

4.4 3.4 3.2 -1.2 -0.2

Boise County

6.7 5.6 5.9 -0.8 0.3

Canyon County

6.4 5.3 4.8 -1.6 -0.5

Gem County

6.7 5.6 4.8 -1.9 -0.8

Owyhee County

3.6 3.3 5.1 1.5 1.8

(1) Data for the Boise City, Idaho Metropolitan Statistical Area and its components are preliminary for the most recent month.

Four of the five counties in the Boise City metropolitan area had unemployment rate decreases from December 2013 to December 2015. Gem County had the largest decline (-1.9 percentage points); Boise County had the smallest decrease (-0.8 point). The jobless rate in Owyhee County increased 1.5 percentage points over the two-year period. Nationally, the unemployment rate fell 1.7 percentage points over the two-year period.

Technical Note

This release presents unemployment rate data for states and counties from the Local Area Unemployment Statistics (LAUS) program, a federal-state cooperative endeavor. 

Definitions. The labor force and unemployment data are based on the same concepts and definitions as those used for the official national estimates obtained from the Current Population Survey (CPS), a sample survey of households that is conducted for the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) by the U.S. Census Bureau. The LAUS program measures employment and unemployment on a place-of-residence basis.  The universe for each is the civilian noninstitutional population 16 years of age and over.  Employed persons are those who did any work at all for pay or profit in the reference week (the week including the 12th of the month) or worked 15 hours or more without pay in a family business or farm, plus those not working who had a job from which they were temporarily absent, whether or not paid, for such reasons as labor-management dispute, illness, or vacation. Unemployed persons are those who were not employed during the reference week (based on the definition above), had actively looked for a job sometime in the 4-week period ending with the reference week, and were currently available for work; persons on layoff expecting recall need not be looking for work to be counted as unemployed.  The labor force is the sum of employed and unemployed persons. The unemployment rate is the number of unemployed as a percent of the labor force.

Methods of Estimation. The LAUS program is a hierarchy of non-survey methodologies for indirectly estimating employment and unemployment in states and local areas. Statewide data are produced through a modeling technique that uses estimates of payroll jobs from the Current Employment Statistics survey and unemployment insurance claims counts from the state workforce agencies to mitigate volatility in the direct CPS tabulations of employment and unemployment, respectively. Data for labor market areas, such as metropolitan areas and metropolitan divisions, are produced through a building block approach and adjusted proportionally to state model-based totals. Data for counties within labor market areas are produced through a disaggregation technique. A detailed description of the LAUS estimation procedures is available in chapter 4 of the BLS Handbook of Methods at

Annual revisions. Labor force and unemployment data for prior years reflect adjustments made at the end of each year, usually implemented with January estimates. The adjusted estimates reflect updated population data from the U.S. Census Bureau, any revisions in the other data sources, and model reestimation. All substate estimates are reestimated and adjusted to add to the revised model-based estimates.

Area definitions. The substate area data published in this release reflect the standards and definitions established by the U.S. Office of Management and Budget, dated December 1, 2009. A detailed list of the geographic definitions is available at

The Boise City, ID. Metropolitan Statistical Area includes Ada, Boise, Canyon, Gem, and Owyhee Counties in Idaho.

Information in this release will be made available to sensory impaired individuals upon request. Voice phone: (202) 691-5200; Federal Relay Service: 1-800-877-8339.


Last Modified Date: Wednesday, February 24, 2016