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Idaho jobless rate at 20-year high

Fri., April 3, 2009, 11:54 a.m.

The number of unemployed workers in Idaho rose above 7 percent in March for the first time in more than 20 years. Idaho’s economy hasn’t lost jobs between February and March since World War II, the Idaho Department of Labor reported Friday.

The statewide unemployment rate rose three-tenths of a point to 7.1 percent, three percentage points higher than a year ago. However, unemployment rates in the five northern counties were higher than the statewide average. Half of the state’s six highest unemployment rates were in northern Idaho counties.

Benewah County had the state’s second-highest unemployment rate in March, at 15.9 percent, up from 13.4 percent in February and 11.2 percent last March.

Kootenai County’s rate was 7.4 percent, up from 7.3 percent in February and 4.6 percent last March. Boundary County’s rate was 12.8 percent, up from 10.4 percent in February and 9.6 percent last March. In Bonner County, the unemployment rate was 9.2 percent, up from 8.8 percent in February and 6.4 percent last March. In Shoshone County, the rate was 11.6 percent, up from 10.6 percent in February and 6.8 percent last March.

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