The number of Idaho's unemployed workers fell below 60,000 in June for the first time in 33 months as employers expanded payrolls.
The state Labor Department said Friday that 59,900 Idahoans were jobless in June, while 618,000 held nonfarm jobs. The number employed has gone up 1.2 percent in the past year, still well below the 2007 employment peak of 670,000.
The state's unemployment rate dipped slightly to 7.7 percent, down from 7.8 percent in May and down from 8.8 percent a year ago. The latest rate is a half-point lower than the national rate of 8.2 percent.
Idaho employers hired 21,000 people in June some to replace other workers and some for expansion. That is considered a normal rate for June, but it's the highest one-month total since 2007. Labor officials say some of the increase could have resulted from a renewed effort by the department to require employers to report new hires within 20 days of starting work.
Idaho has five unemployed workers for every two job openings, down from nine jobless workers for every job in 2009.