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New hires fall seasonally but stay above average

Idaho new hires fell by 29.5 percent in July from the unusually high June total but remained above recent averages, the Idaho Department of Labor reported.

The drop from 21,246 new hires in June to 16,405 in July, up 19.9 percent from July 2011, was due to seasonal factors, department spokesman Bob Fick said. Even during the more prosperous yearsof 2007 and 2006, new hires fell by 4,200 and 4,000 between June and July, respectively, he said.

The year-to-date monthly average through July is 16 percent higher than the average for all of 2011 and 25.5 percent higher than the average for 2010.

New hires increased from 14,463 in May of this year to 21,246 in June, a gain of 6,783 or 46.9 percent. Fick said Idaho has posted just six month-to-month increases of at least 6,700 new hires since 1998, the first full year of reporting. Before the May to June 2012 gain, the last one-month increase of at least 6,700 was in June 2002, he said.

Month-to-month totals are running ahead of 2009, 2010 and last year, and are approaching pre-recession levels, he said.

The gains could reflect a combination of economic recovery and an Idaho Department of Labor campaign last spring to encourage more businesses to report new hires as required, he said.

Many new hires amount to “churn” as workers fill existing rather than additional jobs, Fick said. About half were new jobs in April and May from the previous month, and about 20 percent were new jobs from May to June, he said.

“But the greater the churn, the looser the economy is,” he said. “There is hiring going on, and people are starting to compete for labor.”

New-hire reporting is required under the 1996 federal welfare reform law. The reporting helps states track parents who owe child support, and people who continue to receive unemployment benefits after they get jobs, Fick said. Employers must report a new hire within 20 days of hiring.

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