Kootenai County’s unemployment rate hit an all-time low of 2.5 percent in July.
“It reminds me of the Limbo,” said Regional Economist Kathryn Tacke, referring to the Caribbean dance where participants shimmy under horizontal sticks held closer and closer to the ground. “How low can we go?”
Unemployment rates have been falling for about three years, creating an extremely competitive hiring atmosphere, said Tacke, who works for the Idaho Department of Labor’s Coeur d’Alene office.
Workers have benefited from rising wages and more job choices. But many industries — particularly manufacturing, warehousing, construction and groundskeeping — are feeling pinched by the shortage of qualified workers and higher labor costs, Tacke said.
Other North Idaho counties also posted record or near-record low unemployment in July.
Bonner County had 2.8 percent unemployment; Shoshone County, 4.4 percent. Benewah and Boundary counties were both at 4.8 percent.