BYU-Idaho graduation is July 21, and many BYU-Idaho seniors are hoping to land one of the 7.5 million unfilled jobs in the United States. Jace Atkinson is one of those graduating seniors at BYU-Idaho.
“When I started looking [for a job], I would definitely say there was some stress or anxiety about not getting hired right out of college… but also some excitement. I was excited to go look for a job and interview and stuff like that,” Atkinson said.
For other BYU-Idaho seniors hoping to get a job interview, let’s look at what the current work force looks like, especially in Eastern Idaho.
According to the Idaho Department of Labor’s Esther Eke, a regional economist covering Pocatello to Idaho Falls, northeastern Idaho’s May unemployment rate was 2.6%.
"That’s pretty low, especially when you consider that for a long time what we had considered to be an equilibrium unemployment rate was about 4% and we are much lower than that,” Eke said.
The state unemployment rate is 3%. There are only five states that have a lower unemployment rate: South Dakota, Nebraska, Vermont, New Hampshire and Utah. The lowest state unemployment rate is 2.5% in Nebraska.
On the flip side, 44 states have a higher unemployment rate than Idaho, with the highest currently reaching 8% in New Mexico. California follows closely at 7.9% with Nevada and New York at 7.8%.
However, it hasn’t always been this way. During the height of the pandemic in Apr. 2020, the Idaho unemployment rate skyrocketed to 11.6%. The current United States unemployment average is 5.6%.
With unemployment so low in Idaho, graduating students have some things to feel confident about.
“One metric I would look at is the ratio of unemployed people, so people who are looking for work, to the number of job postings that are available. I think in May, just region wide, we had about 3,000 job openings and the number of employers at about 3,100 or 3,200. We have a nearly 1 to 1 ratio between openings and job seekers. State-wide, I believe we have more job postings than there are job seekers,” Eke said.
According to the Idaho Department of Labor’s Hot Job Rank, the number one job in demand in Idaho is registered nurses. This job requires a bachelor’s degree, averages $66,000 a year and has almost a 20% growth rate. So, good news if you are studying nursing here at BYU-Idaho.
Other hot jobs in Idaho are software developers, nurse practitioners, physician’s assistants, information security analysts, industrial machinery mechanics and market research analysts.
If you’re looking to move to a certain part of Idaho, there is a great resource called Idaho Launch that tells you the jobs trending in each region. Here in Eastern Idaho, the trending jobs are industrial machinery mechanics, registered nurses and web developers. A link to Idaho Launch, click here.
In 2020, a survey was sent to BYU-Idaho seniors at graduation to check on their employment status. Thousands replied and nearly three-quarters (72.8%) of them were employed. Out of the 3,051 responses to the survey, 831 said they were not employed but actively looking for work. To view those statistics, click here.
How does one go about getting a job? Sheila Wener is the Career Services manager at BYU-Idaho. She said the first step for BYU-Idaho students is to stop by the Career Services Department for some advice, especially if you’re a senior.
“We’ve got resources to help them tell their story to an employer, through resumes and cover letter reviews, conducting mock interviews, getting their digital profiles like their LinkedIn profile polished…. We have career workshops that we offer each week to teach them about job searching skills, and we also have a newly designed website to help them navigate and find resources to help them in their job search,” Wener said.
Career Services also offers help through V-Mock, which gives resume feedback online and is available 24/7. They also help students find job opportunities through Handshake, where employers regularly post job openings and internships. She says the number one thing BYU-Idaho seniors can do to help them prepare for job interviews is practice. To view the Career Services website, click here.