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Idaho jobless rate at 8.9 percent

Sat., Nov. 7, 2009

More than 2,300 have used up all benefits

The unemployment rate in October rose to 8.9 percent in Idaho and 11.1 percent in Kootenai County. In some rural corners of North Idaho, one in five working-age persons is jobless.

Seasonally adjusted unemployment edged up a tenth of a point statewide last month. In Kootenai County, the rate increased half a percentage point from September.

The number of Idaho workers without jobs rose 1,100, to a record 67,300, as employers held hiring to the lowest level since record-keeping began in 1998, the state Department of Labor said Friday.

Total unemployment was up almost 25,000 from October 2008, when the rate was 6.6 percent.

Half of the workers signing up for unemployment benefits are exhausting their regular state allotment without finding jobs and moving on to federal benefits, the agency reported.

More than 2,300 Idaho workers have used up all their benefits – state and federal – and more than 100 workers a week join that group, labor officials said.

Joblessness has ballooned to 19.5 percent in Benewah County, where many of the jobs are seasonal. That’s up sharply from 16 percent in September.

Unemployment also jumped last month in Boundary and Shoshone counties, both of which report rates of 15.9 percent, and Bonner County, at 12.5 percent.

Washington’s labor department will report October unemployment numbers Nov. 17.

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