Bringing the Economy Home

Jobless in Idaho

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The Idaho Department of Labor estimates there are nearly 70,000 people in the state who don’t have jobs.  Tens of thousands more are either underemployed or have stopped looking for work.

“The unemployment rate measures people who are actively looking for work or working.  If you’re not actively looking for work than you’re listed in the category of frustrated worker or marginally attached worker.  And then there are thousands of people who are working jobs that are part time jobs because they can’t find anything more.  And then there are thousands of people on top of that even the federal government doesn’t track.” – Bob Fick, Idaho Department of Labor

Idaho is one of a handful of states where the unemployment rate has gone up since the recession officially ended in mid-2009.  Idaho’s unemployment rate climbed to its peak of 9.7 percent in early 2011, nearly two years after the recession was declared over.  It has since come down to 9.0 percent.

The state Department of Labor releases new unemployment figures the third Friday of every month, and every month media outlets diligently report the newest numbers.  But the people who are behind these jobless numbers are often not covered.  Starting this week StateImpact Idaho will begin exploring who the unemployed are, what their struggles have been, and what they hope for.  We’ll track their job searches over the next several months and share their experiences with you. 

We plan to profile several people who are unemployed in the coming weeks.  We’d like to know your unemployment story.  If you know someone who might be interested in being part of this series, let us know.  Drop us a note in the comments section or email us at or

Listen for our series Jobless in Idaho on Boise State Public Radio and online right here.


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