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Unemployment down to 7.1 percent in Idaho

The unemployment rate in Idaho fell to 7.1 percent in September, the lowest rate since May 2009 and down from 7.4 percent in August.

But the state also has seen its labor force shrink four straight months, including the first August-September decline since the 1986 recession, the Idaho Department of Labor said Friday.

Employers in Idaho expanded payrolls last month at a higher rate than in the past five years, and at a slightly faster pace than during the expansion of 2003-’07, the state reported.

Another 1,200 workers were on the job in September, pushing total employment to 720,600 – its highest level in four years – and breaking a two-month employment slide.

The jobless rate last month fell to 9 percent in Kootenai County; it was 11.5 percent a year ago. The rate hit 8.1 percent in Coeur d’Alene last month, down from 10.7 percent in September 2011.

The September rate was 12.4 percent in Benewah County, 10.3 percent in Bonner County, 10.2 percent in Boundary County and 12.1 percent in Shoshone County.

Train tops 110 mph on high-speed test run

JOLIET, Ill. – For the first time on a key Midwestern route between Chicago and St. Louis, an Amtrak passenger train topped 110 mph Friday, ripping through fog-shrouded farm fields and blowing past cars on a parallel highway.

The test run on a special train packed with journalists, politicians and transportation officials was a milestone in President Barack Obama’s vision of bringing high-speed rail to the United States and transforming the way Americans travel. It also was a welcome morale booster for high-speed rail advocates who have watched conservatives in Congress put the brakes on spending for fast train projects they view as expensive boondoggles.

“Four years ago we were nowhere. Illinois and the country was a wasteland when it came to high speed rail,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, among those celebrating onboard the train. “This is a dream come true today.”

Chipotle stock takes hit over growth worries

NEW YORK – Chipotle’s stock is taking a big hit from investors worried that years of lightning-fast growth are over.

The burrito-maker’s stock fell more than 13 percent in morning trading and was at its lowest point in more than a year, threatening to end its run as an investor darling. The culprit? A one-two punch of slowing growth and worrisomely high food costs caused by this summer’s drought.

Chipotle shares closed down 15 percent, or $42.93, at $243. They have lost 28 percent since the beginning of the year.


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