Unemployment in Idaho drops

SATURDAY, OCT. 22, 2011

Dip puts state below U.S. rate

Idaho’s jobless rate went down two-tenths of a point to 9 percent in September, the first time it’s been below the national rate since last November, the Idaho Department of Labor reported.

Nationally, the unemployment rate was 9.1 percent in September.

Except for a slight increase in Benewah County, North Idaho counties also saw jobless rates drop in September, when compared to August.

Kootenai County declined to 11 percent, down from 11.7 percent. Bonner County dropped to 13.7 percent, from 14.1 percent. Benewah County rose one-tenth of a point, to 14.3 percent. Boundary County dropped to 14.2 percent, from 15.4 percent. And Shoshone County declined to 14.9 percent, from 16 percent.

The number of Idahoans working last month was up 1,500 from August, ending a three-month slide in total employment, a news release said. Employers reported hiring more than 17,000 new workers last month to fill new jobs or replace retirees and others.

The number of workers without jobs in September fell to just over 68,000, the lowest since February 2010. But a business think tank reported there were nearly four unemployed Idaho workers for every job opening listed in September.

Twenty-seven of Idaho’s 44 counties recorded lower unemployment rates in September than in August, while 14 saw rates rise. The same 16 primarily rural counties that posted double-digit unemployment rates in August were still in double digits in September, the release said.

Adams County recorded the highest jobless rate at 18.9 percent, while Oneida County had the lowest rate, at 5 percent.

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