Idaho’s unemployment rate last month ticked down to its lowest level in nearly two years. The Idaho Department of Labor reports the seasonally adjusted rate dropped two-tenths of a percent to 8.8. The national unemployment rate for October was 9.0 percent.
There are still at least 66,400 Idahoans without jobs, that’s down from 73,600 a year ago. Idaho Department of Labor spokesman Bob Fick says those figures don’t include people who have stopped looking for work or who have part-time jobs but are wanting to work full-time.
Fick says it’s slightly unusual to see a drop in the unemployment rate between September and October, because that’s typically a time when seasonal employees are dropped from payrolls and join the job hunt. “Employers reduced jobs by only 900, typically, it’s substantially more than that,” Fick says. “During the expansion from 2002 to 2007 the average was 1,800 jobs lost between September and October.”
The state’s unemployment rate never reached into double-digits, it peaked at 9.7 percent in December through March. Still, there are 15 counties in Idaho where the jobless rate is in double-digits. Fick says most of those counties are rural and primarily resource based. Two exceptions are Kootenai County, in the northern panhandle and Canyon County, in south-western Idaho. “You did see a decline in the rates in both Kootenai and Canyon Counties the two urban counties that have been in double digits for over a year,” Fick says. “While they’re still in double digits, they’re down in the 10-percent range. That is another little piece of evidence that the economy has picked itself off the bottom.”
Adams County has the highest jobless rate in the state at 18.8 percent. Owyhee County has the lowest rate at 5 percent.
Click on the map for an interactive look at the county-by-county data.