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North Idaho unemployment up

Timber industry troubles and a weather-related slowdown in construction triggered higher unemployment rates in all five North Idaho counties during November.

The region’s unemployment rate rose to 4.4 percent last month, an increase from 3.9 percent in October.

As a result of lower lumber prices, several lumber mills reduced their staffs during November, or temporarily laid off shifts, said Kathryn Tacke, regional economist for Idaho’s Commerce & Labor Department. A few logging operations laid off workers as well.

However, in most of North Idaho, unemployment rates are still lower than they were a year ago, Tacke said.

November’s unemployment rates by county were: Kootenai, 3.5 percent; Bonner, 4.4 percent; Benewah, 8.4 percent; Boundary, 10.8 percent; Shoshone, 7.4 percent.


Judge orders Skilling to prison

A federal appellate court denied former Enron Chief Executive Officer Jeffrey Skilling’s request to remain free during his appeal Tuesday and ordered him imprisoned immediately.

Judge Patrick Higginbotham of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals wrote in his two-page order that “Skilling raises no substantial question that is likely to result in the reversal of his convictions on all of the charged counts.”

New York

MySpace tops Yahoo in visitors

The online hangout MySpace got even more popular in November, beating Yahoo in Web traffic for the first time, a research company said Tuesday.

News Corp.’s MySpace recorded 38.7 billion U.S. page views last month, compared with 38.1 billion for Yahoo Inc., according to comScore Media Metrix. MySpace’s growth was 2 percent over October and triple the 12.5 billion recorded in November 2005.

The numbers underscore the rapid rise of a social-networking site that encourages visitors to stay and make friends through free tools for messaging, sharing photos and creating personal pages known as profiles.

ComScore warned, however, that Yahoo’s page views could be diminished by the company’s growing use of Ajax technology for maps, e-mail and other services.