Idaho's Unemployment Rate Edges Upward

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Updated: 9/20/2013 8:26 am

The Idaho Department of Labor reported Friday that Idaho's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for August rose to 6.8 percent. July's number was 6.6 percent.

August mark is seven-tenths of a percentage point higher than April's unemployment rate. That's one of the largest rate increases among the states in the last four months according to the Department of Labor.

Nationally, unemployment fell another tenth of a point in August to 7.3 percent, down two-tenths from April.

Idaho’s rate remained below the national rate for the 143rd month – one month short of 12 years.

Idaho employers across all industries were hiring at or slightly above normal levels for July to August, putting total jobs in August 2.6 percent ahead of a year earlier. Nationally, jobs in August were 1.7 percent higher than August 2012.

Seven of every 10 new jobs in August were in services, and nearly all in sectors that typically have more part-time workers – retail and administrative services, where over a quarter of the jobs are part time, and food service, where half are part-time jobs.

As unemployment has risen and the labor force and total employment declined over much of the last year, department analysts speculate employers are still concerned about the economic future at both the state and national levels.

Despite the unemployment rate moving higher, unemployment benefit payments in August were down 39 percent with the number of claimants 36 percent lower than August 2012.

While the statewide jobless rate continued to rise in August, the effect across the state remained mixed. Unemployment rates in four of the five metro areas declined while unemployment in Idaho Falls rose three-tenths of a percentage point.

In rural Idaho, the same six resource-dependent counties that reported double-digit rates in June and July did so again in August. Adams County had the highest rate at 14.7 percent, down a full percentage point from July. Oneida had the lowest rate at 3.9 percent, the only county under 4 percent.

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