Posts tagged: Idaho unemployment
Idaho’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate fell in December to 6.6 percent, the lowest rate in nearly four years and two-tenths of a percentage down from November, the Idaho Department of Labor reports. This time, the improved numbers weren’t just due to people giving up on looking for work: The state’s labor force expanded for the first time since last May. Labor reports that the December figures reflect 300 new entrants to the workforce and 1,500 unemployed Idahoans who found jobs. You can read their full announcement here.
The Conference Board estimates there are still slightly more than two workers for every job posted in Idaho, but that’s way down from nearly five for every job opening during the worst of the recession in late 2009. Labor reports that the number of counties with double-digit jobless rates fell to five in December, all in northern and north-central Idaho, down from six in November and 13 in December of 2011.
The five were Adams, 15.4%; Clearwater, 12.2%; Valley, 11.9%; Benewah, 10.8%; and Shoshone, 10.6%. The county with the lowest unemployment rate in December was Oneida County, at 4.0 percent; followed by Bear Lake, 4.2%; and Franklin, 4.3%. Ada County was at 5.6 percent; Canyon, 7.3%; and Kootenai, 7.4%.
More than 6,300 unemployed Idahoans won’t lose their federal extended unemployment benefits this week after all, the Idaho Department of Labor says, under the newly passed legislation to avert the so-called fiscal cliff. Instead, those on extended benefits will continue to receive them, though possibly not for long. Due to drops in Idaho’s unemployment rate, the length of federal extended benefits has been cut back three times in 2012; it’s now at a maximum of 37 weeks beyond the standard state benefit of 10 to 26 weeks; that could drop to a maximum of 28 weeks the second week of February, if unemployment holds steady or continues to fall. At their peak, federal extended benefits lasted for up to 73 weeks. Click below for the full announcement from the Idaho Department of Labor.
More than 6,000 unemployed Idahoans have now seen their federal extended unemployment benefits terminated, the Idaho Department of Labor reports today. The program to provide jobless workers with extended benefits during the recession expired last week; Idaho workers who were getting the payments got their last one this week. Click below for the full news release from the Idaho Department of Labor.
Since the program began in mid-2008, 95,000 Idaho workers shared $900 million in federally financed extended benefits; now, only the regular state unemployment benefit of 10 to 26 weeks is available for the 15,000 Idaho workers who still haven't found new jobs. Last week, just over 6,300 received the extended federal benefits, with an average payment of $248.
Idaho's unemployment rate continued to fall in October, dropping another tenth of a percentage point to 7 percent, the lowest level in 3-1/2 years, the Idaho Department of Labor reports. That was nearly a full percentage point below the national unemployment rate, which rose a tenth to 7.9 percent in October. You can read the full report here from Idaho DOL, and a breakdown here by county, city and labor market areas within the state.
Here's a news item from the Associated Press: BOISE, Idaho (AP) ― Idaho's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate fell slightly to 7.4 percent in August, in part because fewer people are looking for work. Idaho lost 2,600 workers from its labor force between July and August and more than 5,500 over the summer ― the largest three-month exodus of workers on record in the state. The state Labor Department says nearly 1,100 fewer people were working in August while 1,600 left the ranks of the jobless, dropping the number of people considered to be unemployed to just over 57,000. Since the recession, more than 15,000 workers have exhausted their unemployment benefits without finding jobs and hundreds more lost extended benefits. Businesses report hiring 18,400 workers in August, mostly to replace departing workers.
Idaho employers facing high unemployment insurance costs can, in part, blame those who get fraudulent benefits, the Associated Press reports; the Idaho Department of Labor is now trying to recover $20 million in fraudulent payments. The state's unemployment trust fund already was under pressure as the 2008 recession pushed the jobless rate north of 9 percent, forcing the state to borrow from the federal government, then sell bonds to repay the debt; the rate at which employers pay into the fund is now at its maximum.
In this year's legislative session, the department proposed a fine for employers who don't report new hires, enabling those workers to fraudulently keep collecting unemployment benefits; it passed the Senate unanimously but was narrowly rejected in the House. Since then, the department has tried radio ads to try to encourage employers to comply with the reporting requirement. Click below for a full report from AP reporter John Miller.
Here's a news item from the Associated Press: BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Idaho's unemployment rate dipped to 9.2 percent in August, down from 9.4 percent in July. The state Department of Labor released the latest jobless numbers Friday. While Idaho posted its lowest unemployment rate since May 2010, the agency says 70,000 workers were still without jobs last month. Camas County had the highest jobless rate at 16.9 percent, while the lowest was recorded in Owyhee County at 5.3 percent. Nationwide, Idaho was among 12 states where the jobless rate decreased. The federal Labor Department reported Friday that unemployment rates increased in 26 other states and were unchanged in the remaining 12 states. The national unemployment rate stayed at 9.1 percent for the second straight month.
Here's a news item from the Associated Press: BOISE, Idaho (AP) — The Idaho Department of Labor says the statewide unemployment held steady at 9.4 percent in June. The agency released the latest jobless numbers on Friday, saying the Idaho labor pool shrunk for the first time in 10 months as fewer jobs were created and more than 1,800 unemployed workers either gave up their search or left the state in June. Idaho's jobless rate fell to 9.4 percent in May, down from 9.6 percent in April. The labor department says more than 30,000 unemployed workers collected $28.8 million in benefits last month, which is down compared to a year ago when more than 38,000 workers received $41.7 million in June 2010. The state reports more than 10,600 unemployed workers have exhausted their benefits and are still without work.
Idaho's unemployment rate fell for the second straight month in May, but it's not all good news – employers are hiring at rates below the seasonal norm, and certain key sectors are way off – manufacturing payrolls are stuck at 1991 levels, construction employment is at 1994 levels and May's total nonfarm jobs in the state were 0.3 percent lower than May of 2010. “Wages have been rising modestly in recent months due to employers restoring hours cut during the recession or giving raises to workers who took on more responsibilities as payrolls shrank,” writes Bob Fick of the Idaho Department of Labor. Idaho's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in May was down two-tenths of a point from April to 9.4 percent. Meanwhile, the national unemployment rate rose two-tenths – but it also was at 9.4 percent. You can read Fick's full report here.
Idaho’s jobless rate held steady at 9.7 percent in March, the fourth straight month of record high rates, the Idaho Department of Labor reports. However, there may be a glimmer of good news in the report; according to preliminary estimates by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of people at work grew faster than the number of people looking for work for the first time in four years. You can read more here.
Idaho’s seasonally adjusted unemployment dropped for the third straight month in May, after 31 straight monthly rate increases going all the way back to August of 2007. May’s rate was down a tenth of a percentage point to 9 percent, which compares favorably to the national rate, which dropped two-tenths of a point to 9.7 percent in May. “The decline was modest, but it continues what appears to be a downward trend and another sign the worst of the recession may be past,” said Idaho Department of Labor Senior Analyst Eduardo Silva. Click here for more from the Idaho Department of Labor, including tables showing the rates around the state.
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.
Idaho’s unemployment rate has notched up again, this time by a tenth of a percentage point to 9 percent, the highest since June of 1983. The U.S. Department of Labor today revised Idaho’s October rate up from the Nov. 6 forecast, based on additional data; a record 67,800 Idahoans are now jobless, with the state’s total employment dropping below 686,000 for the first time since February of 2005. Click below to read the full news release from the Idaho Department of Labor.
Idaho has borrowed more than $51 million from the federal government since July 1 to bail out its unemployment insurance trust fund, despite a 70 percent tax rate increase for Idaho employers this year. It gets worse: The state expects the borrowing to rise to $190 million by next spring - even with a much larger tax increase likely to hit next year. “The rate will go up in 2010 and it will go up more than it did this year,” said Bob Fick, spokesman for the Idaho Department of Labor.
For much of the past decade, business interests pushed to freeze tax rates when they would otherwise have gone up, pushing off a reckoning. But that’s not likely this year. “We kinda knew we were in a situation where, given the severity of this downturn, and particularly the severity for Idaho, things really weren’t going to be looking good for this fund,” said Alex LaBeau, president of the Idaho Association of Commerce and Industry. “It’s not on our list as something that we are going to push for legislative amendments.”
You can read my full story here. With soaring unemployment, Idaho expects to pay out $550 million in federal and state unemployment benefits this year - the highest it ever paid before was $247 million in 2008. “We’re talking about doubling it in one year’s time,” Fick said. “This is a severe circumstance.”
Today the U.S. Department of Labor adjusted Idaho’s forecasted August unemployment rate upward to 8.9 percent, a seasonally adjusted figure that’s the highest rate since June of 1983, when Idaho joblessness hit 9 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis. “Total employment at 686,400 was at its lowest level since February 2005,” the Idaho Department of Labor reported. “In just the last year, Idaho lost over 48,000 jobs.”
The high rate means workers who’ve exhausted their federal and state unemployment benefits will qualify for some additional payments, for another three to seven weeks after regular benefits have run out. Bob Fick, Idaho Department of Labor spokesman, said roughly 150 Idahoans a week are now exhausting their unemployment benefits.
Dell Computers is closing its Twin Falls call center that employed 500 people, the Times-News reports today; the center, opened in 2001, was attracted in part by $1.5 million in incentives from the city’s urban renewal agency, Chamber of Commerce and the state, which helped attract Dell to open the center in a former Twin Falls grocery store. You can read reporter Joshua Palmer’s full story here. This news comes as more than 66,000 Idahoans already were out of work in August, up from fewer than 40,000 a year ago, according to Idaho Department of Labor figures.
Idaho unemployment claims are running at high volume, with 45,000 active claims as of June 12, thanks to the economic downturn and widespread layoffs, including those in the high-tech sector. Here’s an oddity, though: 60 percent of jobless claims in the first quarter of this year were filed online, as opposed to in-person, the only other choice for initial claims. But the state Department of Labor’s online filing service can be accessed only with Internet Explorer 7. That leaves out those who’ve updated their browsers to the new Internet Explorer 8 (Labor spokesman Bob Fick says a work-around for IE 8 users should be ready “within a couple of weeks”), and, of course, anyone who uses a Mac.
“What we have was developed 15 years ago,” Fick said. At that time, he said, it was determined that only the Microsoft browser could handle a secure session that might stop midway through, then restart later, without the user having to start from scratch inputting data. When the system first was developed, Fick said, 97 percent of users had Internet Explorer. “Now, only about 80 to 85 percent of the people have it,” he said. The department’s tech people are now looking at Firefox and Safari to see what adaptations might be necessary in the online claim-filing system to make it compatible with those browsers. “It’ll be within a year that they’ll have it fixed,” Fick said. “As far as the complaints, there hasn’t been any increase or decrease in complaints. There have been Mac users that have complained all along they can’t get in. Fixing it is a question of money, and of time.”