The Idaho Labor Department today released December jobless figures, showing the lowest seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in nearly four years. December’s rate dipped to 6.6 percent, down from 6.8 percent in November.
Unlike previous monthly jobless reports, this one signals stronger hiring.
“The labor force expanded, albeit just fractionally, for the first time since last May, and job opportunities were sufficient to accommodate not only 300 new entrants to the workforce but 1,500 workers who were previously without jobs. Rate declines in recent months have been due in large part to labor force contraction.” – Idaho Labor Department
Still, the Labor Department says the majority of December’s hiring wasn’t to create new jobs, rather people were hired to fill jobs left open by retirements, firings, or other vacancy reasons.
The sectors that showed a dip in jobs were natural resources, administrative support services, and private educational services, the Department says.
“After bumping along the recession bottom for most of 2011, nonfarm jobs in Idaho began increasing again in spring 2012, and by year’s end averaged nearly 613,000, 1.1 percent higher than in 2011. Idaho has recovered only 18 percent of the 50,000 jobs lost to the recession on an annual average basis, and it is likely the rest will not be regained until 2015.” – Idaho Department of Labor
Preliminary annual data shows Idaho’s average jobless rate in 2012 was 7.4 percent. That’s a welcome decrease from 2011’s average of 8.7 percent.
There are at least 50,800 Idahoans without jobs. That doesn’t include people who have dropped out of the labor force, or who have stopped looking for work.
Nationally, December’s jobless rate dropped in 22 states, while 16 states saw unemployment figures increase.