Certainly, it’s not good economic news that Idaho’s unemployment is breaking more and more records. Last week, the $16.2 million in unemployment insurance benefits paid by the state broke the previous weekly record, which was set the first week of April, and the year-to-date figure of $627 million in benefits paid to out-of-work Idahoans has shattered all records - in all of 2008, the state paid out $247 million. But according to the state Department of Labor, there’s an economic silver lining to this: Moody’s Economy.com estimates that every dollar paid in unemployment benefits actually has an economic impact of $1.63, because unemployment, unlike other income, is almost always spent, not saved. And it’s spent on basics like house payments, rent, utilities, food and gas - which boosts the economy.
Betsy Z. Russell covers Idaho news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Boise.
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