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In brief: Jobless rate below average

Idaho’s unemployment rate remained below national levels in January, although it edged up slightly to 2.8 percent, according to state estimates.

Construction “remained the biggest contributor to the ranks of the unemployed,” making up 30 percent of unemployment benefit claims that month – a 25 percent jump from a year earlier, according to the Idaho Department of Labor. Only recreation and accommodation industries saw job growth, as good snow conditions boosted job opportunities at ski resorts, according to a news release.

In Kootenai County, unemployment increased to 3.6 percent, up from 3 percent in December and equal to the rate in January 2007, according to seasonally adjusted data. Economists typically consider anything less than 5 percent as full employment.

Rural Boundary and Benewah counties’ rates remained among the highest in the state, with 6.8 percent and 6 percent unemployment, respectively. That was a slight decrease from a year earlier.

– Parker Howell

Coeur d’Alene

CdA Mines income down in 2007

Coeur d’Alene Mines Corp. reported fourth-quarter net income of $14.3 million on Friday, compared with net income of $23.2 million during the fourth quarter of 2006.

For the entire year, the company’s income was $43.9 million, compared with $75.4 million in income during 2006.

Highlights of the year included a $1.1 billion merger that gave Coeur d’Alene Mines ownership of a Mexican silver property, said company chairman and CEO Dennis Wheeler. The Palmarejo Mine, about 260 miles south of Chihuahua, Mexico, is expected to open in early 2009.

Coeur d’Alene Mines produced 11.5 million ounces of silver and 92,014 ounces of gold last year.

– Becky Kramer


Leap Day thwarts quick check-ins

Passengers using United Airlines’ “Easy Check-In” found it anything but that on Leap Day when the automated system failed, resulting in longer lines at its U.S. airport counters.

The Chicago-based carrier blamed the service interruption on software issues related to the leap year.

Spokeswoman Megan McCarthy said customers couldn’t get Easy Check-In kiosks to confirm they had been checked in or print out their boarding passes for several hours.

McCarthy said no flights were delayed. The airline apologized to customers for the inconvenience.

McCarthy said United didn’t have any such problems with the software on Leap Day four years ago.

– Associated Press