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Idaho unemployment falls for 5th straight month

BOISE — The Idaho Department of Labor says the state’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for December fell to 8.4 percent, the lowest level since September 2009.

The state’s unemployment rate has dropped for five straight months, and fell from 8.5 percent in November. The national unemployment rate for December was 8.5 percent, the Associated Press reported today.

The Labor Department says over 698,000 Idahoans were working in December — 13,000 more than in December 2010 — and the largest total since March 2009.  

Unemployment benefit payments totaled $31.5 million to 32,000 jobless workers in December. That total is 25 percent less than the $41.8 million paid to over 39,900 unemployed workers in December 2010, when the unemployment rate stood at 9.7 percent.

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The Spokesman-Review business team follows economic development in Spokane and the Inland Northwest.