Idaho Labor Market. Idaho’s unemployment rate is holding steady at under 4 percent.

Nonfarm payrolls increased in November, with a net gain of 2,000 jobs. The strongest gains occurred in the leisure and hospitality sector, which retained more jobs than expected for this time of year. The state’s seasonally adjusted nonfarm employment grew 3.2 percent since last year. Compared to a year ago, Idaho has added 21,500 nonfarm jobs to the economy, and the current employment level registers at 782,294. The United States’ unemployment rate increased one-tenth of a percentage point from 4.9 percent to 5.0 percent.

Idaho ranked third in the nation for year-over-year job growth. The state’s labor force participation rate, which remained unchanged at 64.1 percent, also outperforms the national average, which stands at 62.9 percent. A high labor force participation rate coupled with low unemployment indicates that even residents without jobs are encouraged by the state’s current economic strength and are still actively seeking job opportunities.

Idaho Housing Market. Home prices continued to rise slightly across the nation and in Idaho. Idaho’s home prices increased 0.3 percent from August to September, and have risen 7.7 percent since September 2015. Nationally, home prices increased 1.1 percent month over month and 6.3 percent year over year. National home prices for single-family homes, including distressed sales, are forecasted to rise by 0.3 percent in September 2016, and by 5.2 percent from September 2016 to September 2017.

Although home prices remain 5.2 percent below peak values recorded in April 2006, the U.S. has experienced 56 consecutive months of year-over-year increases, including distressed sales, indicating progress toward a full recovery. A new peak level in home prices is expected to be reached in October 2017. In Idaho, home prices are forecasted to increase 0.2 percent this month and 4.9 percent in the next year. In a new report from Veros Real Estate Solutions, the Boise City area was ranked as the fifth-strongest market in the nation, with a forecasted appreciation of 9.7 percent. Low inventories and high demand are expected to continue to bolster an already-strong Idaho housing market.

U.S. Consumer Price Index. The national Consumer Price Index (CPI) increased 0.2 percent from August to September on a non-seasonally adjusted basis. The national CPI has increased 1.5 percent over the last year, which is slightly under the Federal Reserve’s annual inflation target of 2 percent.

The rise in the all items index was driven by increases in the shelter and gasoline indexes. The gasoline index rose 5.8 percent, accounting for more than half of the increase in the all items index. The shelter index rose 0.4 percent, its largest increase since May. The energy index rose 2.9 percent. The index for all items less food and energy, a less-volatile measurement of prices, increased 0.1 percent this month.

Meanwhile, the food index was unchanged in in early winter, with the food at home index declining 0.1 percent and the food away from home index rising 0.2 percent. Over the last 12 months, the food index has declined 0.3 percent.

U.S. Consumer Confidence Index. The Conference Board’s U.S. Consumer Confidence Index decreased 4.9 points to 98.6 from September to October. The Present Situation Index, which measures sentiment about the current state of the economy, decreased from 127.9 to 120.6. Meanwhile, the Expectations Index decreased from 87.2 to 83.9, indicating slightly weaker confidence in the state of the economy six months out.

Consumers’ assessment of current conditions was slightly less favorable as the percentage of consumers who felt business conditions were “good” decreased from 27.7 percent in September to 26.2 percent in October. Those stating current business conditions were “bad” also increased, rising from 15.8 percent to 17.7 percent. Opinions of the labor market were also slightly less positive—those claiming jobs are “plentiful” declined from 27.6 percent to 24.3 percent. However, those claiming jobs are “hard to get” also decreased slightly from 22.3 percent to 22.1 percent.

Consumers are less optimistic about the future, as indicated by the percentage of consumers who expect business conditions to worsen—up from 10.8 percent to 12.2 percent this month. Perspectives about the future job market are also slightly less favorable: those who anticipate more jobs in the months ahead decreased from 15.7 percent to 13.1 percent.