Idaho’s jobless rate jumped 0.5 percent in May – the highest one month increase on record. Statewide, seasonally adjusted unemployment was 3.6 percent in May, up from 2.7 percent in May 2007.
Idaho’s jump in joblessness matched the national increase, which was the biggest one-month jump in decades.
The jobless rate rose to 3.7 percent in the Coeur d’Alene area, up from 3.3 percent in April. A year ago it was 2.7 percent.
Just south of Kootenai County, Benewah County’s unemployment rate in May was 7.7 percent. That’s the highest rate in Idaho, but it’s down from 10.4 percent in April.
The escalating cost of living, especially for food and energy, pushed more people into the labor force to supplement household budgets, the Idaho Department of Labor said Friday.
At the same time, employers are cutting costs to cope with the rapidly slowing economy, the agency said.
Still, the number of newly hired workers in May was up 2,500 from April and more than 1,000 ahead of the long-term average for May.
The May jobless rate for Idaho is the highest since November 2005. It was the fourth straight month the jobless rate has risen.
But employment in Idaho remains high.
For three years the jobless rate has been under 4 percent, a level that most economists consider to be full employment.
By the numbers
Unemployment in Idaho in May
Statewide: 3.6 percent
Kootenai County: 3.7 percent
Bonner County: 4.5 percent
Shoshone County: 6 percent
Boundary County: 6.2 percent
Benewah County: 7.7 percent
Idaho Department of Labor