IDAHO FALLS, Idaho (KIFI/KIDK) - In May, the national unemployment rate fell to 13.3% and employers added 2.5 million jobs to the market, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor.
But the story changes in different counties of eastern Idaho. Research and Business Development Center director Will Jenson tells us unemployment rates have actually gone up.
“I'm looking at numbers for Bonneville County at like 8.1%, that's up from 2.1% in March. So that was a big jump. Then Rexburg, Madison County area, they were at 4.8%, up from 1.5%," Jenson said.
Jenson says those numbers don’t count full-time students so the unemployment rate in Madison County is probably much higher than the Labor of Department reports.
He says he considers another factor when determining how the economy is doing, consumer confidence. “About 80% of the people that we've been interacting with through Facebook polls and through other means, are saying that at least the economy can at least remain stable or get a lot better over the next few months. That's a good sign, and that's good in both Rexburg and Idaho Falls.”
Health care employers, construction, and restaurant and bars were some of the industries that make up the job market improvement according to the Labor Department's report.
In Idaho Falls Chamber of Commerce CEO Chip Schwarze tells us, the tourism industry is still down, “tourism is probably one of the hardest hit industries we have right now. The opening of the national parks on Monday is going to help. I don't think we're going to see a huge influx for at least another couple of weeks.”
The data released by the Labor Department shows employment rebound aligned with local economies reopening, and government aid distributed, including the Paycheck Protection Program.
“The grants and the support from the federal government have been really helpful in keeping businesses afloat, because you know it's not easy. You can't shut your business down, send your employees home, and then just start it right back up again," Schwarze said.
Jenson says going forward in the next few months, if we start to see unemployment rates going down, then we’ll get a better indication of whether or not things are getting back to normal.