The Idaho Department of Labor says the state’s job force is growing. Idaho’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate dropped three-tenths of a percent in November to 8.5 percent. That’s the largest one-month decline since 1983.
Department of Labor spokesman Bob Fick says today’s news is another indicator that Idaho’s economy is beginning to pick itself off the bottom. “The appearance now, based on the activity of the last several months, is that the drop-off in jobs will be less than it had been during the recession.”
Fick says there is no doubt there are more jobs in the labor market today, due to holiday hiring, than there will be in January. But he says the test will come next month when it’s up to employers whether to hang on to those seasonal employees. “The question is whether the drop in non-farm jobs will be what it was in the last three years, or closer to what it was during the expansion years of 2002 to 2007.”
Despite the seemingly good jobs news, there are still at least 65,000 people without work in the state. And nearly 100,000 people who are underemployed. Those number are higher than at any other time before the 2007-2009 recession, says Fick.
Almost 34,000 unemployed Idahoans collected jobless benefits last month, down by 10,000 people at the same time last year. Nearly 13,000 Idahoans have exhausted all unemployment insurance benefits without finding work.
Fick says individual county jobless rates are also ticking down, though there are still 14 counties with unemployment rates in the double-digits. Adams County still has the highest jobless rate at 16.4 percent, Franklin County has the lowest at 4.9 percent.
The national unemployment rate for November is 8.6 percent.
Click on the map to see interactive county-by-county data.