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Recession didn’t hit Idaho workers as hard as thought

The recession was not as hard on Idaho workers as originally estimated, but the state is pulling out of the recession more slowly than other states, the Idaho Department of Labor says.

Thousands more Idahoans were working the past two years and fewer were unemployed than previously known, according to new figures revised by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics based on more recent population estimates and employment data.

That dropped the average unemployment rate for both years a half percentage point to 8.7 percent in 2010 and 8.8 percent in 2011.

Also, while Idaho’s 2010 average jobless rate ranked 28th among the states, the 8.8 percent rate for 2011 ranked 31st.

At no time during the recession did unemployment in Idaho exceed 9 percent, well below original estimates that put the monthly rate at or above 9 percent for 20 of the 24 months. Neither did it exceed the national rate, maintaining a string of over 11 years that the state rate has been below the nation’s.

Instead of peaking at 9.7 percent from December 2010 through March 2011 as originally estimated, Idaho’s unemployment rate peaked at 8.9 percent from August through December 2010 and then hit 8.9 percent again in July 2011 before a steady decline to 8.3 percent in December 2011, dropping further to 8.1 percent in January. The national rate was 8.3 percent in January.

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Scott Maben
Scott Maben joined The Spokesman-Review in 2006. He currently is the Business Editor.

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