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Idaho tops $500 million in unemployment payouts

Mon., Oct. 12, 2009, 10:39 a.m.

BOISE — The state has paid out nearly $504 million in regular, extended and supplemental unemployment insurance benefits so far this year.

The Department of Labor said the 10-month total for 2009 marks a new record for the state and more than double the previous record of $247 million paid out in 2008.

Labor Director Roger Madsen attributes the high payout to people being out of work for longer periods and benefits extended by the federal government.

As of Oct. 6, Idaho had borrowed over $67 million in interest-free loans from the federal government to continue to pay regular benefits to new claimants.

Labor officials say that total could grow to $190 million by next spring as the state’s economy continues to struggle and unemployment remains at levels unmatched in 25 years. Idaho’s unemployment rate for August is 8.5 percent.

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