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Idaho jobless rate drops for 9th straight month

Idaho employers maintained hiring at seasonal levels in April, while the state’s labor force remained unchanged, driving the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate down for the ninth straight month to 7.7 percent.

Hiring was normal in all sectors except government and professional and business services, which posted below-normal job increases in April, the Idaho Labor Department said today.

Construction, retail and trucking all expanded payrolls well above normal, although construction and manufacturing payrolls remained at the levels of the early to mid-1990s.

The state’s jobless rate last month fell two-tenths of a percentage point from March and was 1.2 percentage points below the post-recession high of 8.9 percent last July. The April unemployment rate was at its lowest since July 2009.

While the labor force remained essentially unchanged at 779,000 in April, the number of Idahoans with jobs was up 1,700 from March. More than 17,000 workers have found jobs since the rate began falling last summer, pushing total employment to almost 719,000. That is the highest since September 2008 when the recession to accelerate.

Idaho’s economy supported nearly 609,000 nonfarm jobs in April, 7,100 more than in April 2011 and the 11th straight month that current jobs have exceeded the year-earlier level.

The national unemployment rate in April 2012 was 8.1 percent and has been above the Idaho rate for more than 10½ years.

Employment numbers and unemployment rates for Idaho’s counties will be released Monday.