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More businesses open in conjunction with workforce growth

An increase of workers entering the labor force caused a slight uptick in Idaho’s seasonally adjustedunemploymentrate, from 3.9 percent in May to 4 percent for the month of June.

According to the Idaho Department of Labor, June is the second consecutive month the state’sunemploymentrate increased due to labor force growth.

Economists say the slight increase doesn’t mean the economy isn’t taking a swing for the better. The Conference Board, a Washington, D.C., think-tank, estimates there is just over one unemployed worker for every Idaho job opening, further evidence of a strong demand and tight supply for workers.

As new businesses set up shop and established companies expand throughout the Gem State, economists say skilled job seekers will be needed.

“Our rural areas in the country need to have some development and some job growth opportunities,” said Agri-Service Salesman Steve Bair. “We’re looking for rapid growth in this area and the response has been remarkable.”

Agri-Service, which held its grand opening in Blackfoot Thursday, is among many new businesses that have opened in eastern Idaho. Broadway Ford completed its expansion in Idaho Falls. The company said its increased customers base made it necessary to expand.

“Things were picking up and we needed to provide for every one of our customers,” said Digital Marketing Director Ann-Michelle Jones. “It’s important to be able to expand and grow.”

IDL said economic expansion and the resulting demand for employees caused an additional 2,300 people to re-enter the labor force and look for work, making June the sixth consecutive month of growth. It also brought the year-over-year increase to 19,700 workers, the largest gain sinceMarch 2006. Idaho’s total labor force now stands at 797,900.

Year-over-year, nonfarm job gains resulted in a 3.5 percent growth rate, adding an additional 23,000 jobs to the state’s economy sinceJune 2014. Nearly all of Idaho’s industries are experiencing annual job gains, with the largest increases in construction, education and health, trade, transportation and utilities, and services.

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