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News Release Information

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

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

Unemployment in the Boise Area by County - May 2013

All Five Counties Posted Unemployment Rates At or Below the National Average

In May, Owyhee County, Idaho, reported the lowest unemployment rate, 4.6 percent, in the Boise City-Nampa, Idaho, Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA), followed by Ada County at 5.3 percent, the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Richard J. Holden, the Bureau’s regional commissioner, noted that all five area counties registered jobless rates at or below the U.S. average of 7.3 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.)

In May 2013, four of the five counties in the area registered over-the-year unemployment rate decreases, ranging from 2.8 percentage points in Boise County to 0.7 points in Ada County. The unemployment rate in Owyhee County edged up 0.1 percentage point over the year. Nationally, the unemployment rate was down 0.6 percentage points from May a year ago. (See table A).

Table A. Unemployment rates for the United States and the 5 counties in the Boise City-Nampa, Idaho Metropolitan Statistical Area, May 2013, not seasonally adjusted
AreaUnemployment rateNet change from
May 2011May 2012May 2013May 2011 to May 2013(1)May 2012 to May 2013(1)

United States

Boise City-Nampa, Idaho, MSA

Ada County

Boise County

Canyon County

Gem County

Owyhee County

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

Four of the five Boise area counties also experienced unemployment rate decreases over the two year period from May 2011 to May 2013. The largest declines occurred in Gem County, down 3.7 percentage points, and Boise County, down 3.0 points. Owyhee (up 0.9 percentage points) was the only area county to have a higher unemployment rate in May 2013 than in May 2011. Nationally, the unemployment rate decreased 1.4 percentage points over the two year period. Owyhee County has had the lowest May unemployment rate in the area, and Gem County the highest, in each of the last three years.

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.

Method of estimation.Estimates for the substate areas in this release are prepared through indirect estimation procedures using a building-block approach. Employment estimates, which are based largely on "place of work" estimates from the Current Employment Statistics (CES) program, are adjusted to refer to place of residence as used in the CPS. Unemployment estimates are aggregates of persons previously employed in industries covered by state unemployment insurance (UI) laws and entrants to the labor force data from the CPS. The substate estimates of employment and unemployment, which geographically exhaust the entire state, are adjusted proportionally to ensure that they add to the independently estimated state or balance-of-state totals. A detailed description of the estimation procedures is available from BLS upon request.

Annual revisions.Labor force and unemployment data for prior years reflect adjustments made at the end of each year.  The adjusted estimates reflect updated population data from the U.S. Census Bureau, any revisions in the other data sources, and model reestimation. In most years, historical data for the most recent five years (both seasonally adjusted and not seasonally adjusted) are revised near the beginning of each calendar year, prior to or coincident with the release of January 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-Nampa, Idaho. Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) includes Ada, Boise, Canyon, Gem, and Owyhee Counties in Idaho.


Last Modified Date: Wednesday, July 17, 2013