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Jobless rate continues to decline across North Idaho

Kootenai County showed a sharp drop in the unemployment rate in February – 8.1 percent, down from 8.8 percent in January and 9.2 percent a year ago.

Total employment in the county was about 68,000 last month, an increase of nearly 800 jobs from January, the Idaho Department of Labor said today.

Statewide, seasonally adjusted unemployment dropped a tenth of a point to 8 percent in February. It was the seventh straight monthly decline and the lowest rate since September 2009.

Goods producers added jobs during a month when they normally scale back, while the increase in service sector jobs fell just short of the average over the last five years, the agency said.

Businesses hired more than 11,000 new workers for the third month in a row, and nearly half of the hires were for new jobs created since January.

Elsewhere in North Idaho, February’s jobless rate fell to 11.9 percent in Benewah County, down from 13.3 percent in January; 9.6 percent in Bonner County, down from 10.8 percent; 11.2 percent in Boundary County, down from 11.6 percent; and 11.5 percent in Shoshone County, down from 13.5 percent.