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Idaho jobless rate drops in March

Idaho’s March unemployment rate dropped below 8 percent for the first time in 2 ½ years as a record number of state residents found work.

State officials said the 7.9 percent unemployment rate is a full percentage point below the recession-era high in July 2011.

Employers across the state hired more than 13,500 people to fill openings in March. Contractors and manufacturers both added more workers between February and March. But even with the gains, construction employment remains at mid-1990s levels while manufacturing payrolls are still at early-1990s levels.

Retailers, transportation companies and the financial sector were also hiring.

Unemployment rates for North Idaho counties dropped during March compared to a year ago, but rates still remain above the state average.