Idaho Panhandle unemployment fell in every county in October.
Kootenai County’s rate dropped to 7.3 percent from 8.7 percent for the same month last year, and dropped from 7.8 percent the year before.
“I think it indicates that a lot of the problems we’ve seen in the wood products sectors are behind us,” said Kathryn Tacke, labor analyst for the Idaho Department of Labor. “Essentially we’re still showing good growth in the region, though not as fast as we saw in previous years.”
While still being well above the national rate of 5.2 percent and the state rate of 4.8 percent, the Panhandle rate dropped to 8.2 percent from 9.3 percent last October. Benewah County saw the biggest drop to 8.3 percent from 13.7 percent last year. Improving lumber activity there helped, Tacke said.
Rates for other Panhandle counties in October compared to a year earlier: Bonner, down to 9.2 percent from 9.3 percent; Boundary, down to 9.2 percent from 9.7 percent; Shoshone, down to 9.7 percent from 10.5 percent.