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Treasure Valley labor market tightens

The unemployment rate has been at or below three percent in Idaho for eight consecutive months and the Idaho Labor Department says that means the job market in the Treasure Valley remains tight. (KBOI Photo)

It's day one of Kayla Jarossy's job search and the 24-year-old college student could not have picked a better time.

A tight labor market and exploding population growth have turned the Treasure Valley, indeed, the entire state, into a job seekers market.

That's encouraging to Kayla.

"I had a different impression," she said. "I thought with all the people moving here there would be a lot of people looking for jobs."

Idaho has the largest population growth in the country but with that growth comes a challenge to employers -- finding the work force they need for their increasing business.

The Idaho Department of Labor says the unemployment rate statewide has been at or below three percent for the past eight months.

"With the unemployment rate so low, those who are underemployed are looking for better pay better and better schedules so that adds to the difficulty for some employers," said Craig Shaul, research analyst with the Idaho Department of Labor.

Gary Torrey owns the popular Moon's Kitchen Cafe in downtown Boise, one of Kayla's stops in her job hunt.

Torrey says he's offering more incentives to attract good workers.

"They get paid pretty well," he said. "And time off if they want the time off. Always two days a week, and no overtime. They get off at four so it's great hours to work for their families."

And with more younger people continuing their education through the summer and more older people retiring, the available work force can choose to be even more selective.

But analysts wonder just how low the unemployment rate can go before the economy reacts.

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