Unemployment rate dips below 7% in Idaho

December 21, 2012 8:52 a.m. - Updated: 9 a.m.

Idaho’s unemployment rate continued to fall in November, dropping below 7 percent for the first time in 3½ years as employers maintained payrolls at a stronger pace than normal for the month.

In North Idaho, where joblessness has remained higher than the statewide average, the seasonally adjusted rate fell in every county last month. It stood at 8.1 percent in Kootenai County, which is down from almost 10 percent one year ago, the Idaho Department of Labor reported today.

Statewide, unemployment fell two-tenths of a percentage point in November, to 6.8 percent. The post-recession high was 8.9 percent in July 2011.

About 14,000 more people were working in Idaho last month than in November 2011. The new hires were almost exclusively for filling vacancies created by firings, retirements or other reasons, businesses reported.

The number of workers without jobs stands at 52,400. More than 300 workers dropped out of the labor force in November, continuing a trend of contraction, officials said. Since last spring, the state has lost almost 7,500 workers, the largest continuous erosion of the labor force since 9,100 dropped out over eight months at the end of 2008 and the start of 2009.

Here’s what’s happening in North Idaho:

Kootenai County: 8.1 percent, down from 8.9 percent in October
Benewah County: 11.2 percent, down from 12.4 percent in October
Bonner County: 9.7 percent, down from 10.3 percent in October
Boundary County: 9.3 percent, down from 10.1 percent in October
Shoshone County: 11.4 percent, down from 12 percent in October

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