Idaho’s unemployment rate has dropped for the first time in 32 months, the Idaho Department of Labor reports. The state’s jobless rate for March dropped a tenth of a point to 9.4 percent, and there were more jobs and new job seekers for the first time in three years. Idaho Labor Director Roger Madsen said, “Six key economic indicators - labor force, new hires, total employment, unemployment, job gains, weekly benefit payouts - are all headed in the right direction. I’m very encouraged and optimistic.”
Idaho’s highest unemployment rate ever was 9.6 percent from December 1982 through February 1983, back during the depths of a double-dip recession. The current recession began in December 2007. Things have been rough since then - 53,000 Idahoans are currently drawing unemployment - but the jump in employment from February to March was the highest one-month jump in the number of people working in six years. The last time more people found work in a single month was February 2004, during a record-setting economic expansion. You can read the Department of Labor’s full announcement here, see the latest Idaho state unemployment data here, and see the breakdown by county here.
Betsy Z. Russell covers Idaho news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Boise.
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