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Fri., Aug. 16, 2013, 5:39 p.m.

Idaho jobless rate inches up, Kootenai County’s drops in July

Kootenai County’s jobless rate fell a fraction in July while Idaho’s statewide unemployment rate inched upward during that period.

Kootenai County’s rate dropped from 7.5 percent to 7.4 percent; the statewide increase was from 6.4 percent to 6.6 percent, according to Idaho’s Department of Labor.

In July 2012 Kootenai County had a 9.4 percent jobless rate.

The statewide jobless rate reflects an increase in seasonal government layoffs and a slowing down of summer hiring, the department said.

At the same time, the state said unemployment in Idaho’s five metro areas all declined in July.

Ada County, Idaho’s largest county, dropped from 5.9 percent to 5.7 percent, the labor department reported.

The state uses civilian labor force numbers to define the jobless rate. Those are derived from interviews of worker households. Another job-tracking number, total non-farm employment, comes from employer surveys.

Using nonfarm job numbers covering the past year, the Coeur d’Alene metro saw a 4.3 percent gain. That is the highest year-over-year gain in the state, said Alivia Metts, regional economist for North Idaho. The statewide nonfarm gain from July 2012 was 2.7 percent.

The July-to-July growth for Coeur d’Alene came in several sectors, with the largest coming in the accommodations and food service sector, she said. The total nonfarm employment was 53,200 in July 2012 and 55,500 in July 2013.

“July was the third straight month that (Coeur d’Alene’s) nonfarm total grew year over year,” she said.

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