Idaho's jobless rate might be easing up, but many residents are so broke they can't afford to pay bills if they lose their jobs or face a crisis like an expensive medical emergency.
A report released today by the Corporation for Enterprise Development says 44 percent of Idahoans are on the cusp of financial ruin.
Idaho ranks 24th in the country for the financial stability of its residents, the report said. Last year, Idaho ranked 31st.
The roughly two out of five Idahoans who are "liquid asset poor" can't cover basic costs of living for three months if they lose their income, the report said. This includes most Idahoans who are under the poverty line of $23,050 for a family of four.
It also includes middle-class families. A family of four needs about $5,800 in savings to last three months, but a growing number of Idaho households don't have that much socked away, the report said.
"Although there are signs of improvement in Idaho's economy, with unemployment edging downward in recent months, this year's [report] paints a picture of a state and a nation that is struggling to achieve economic opportunity for all residents," said Jennifer Brooks, director of state and local policy for Corporation for Enterprise Development.
The corporation describes itself as a nonprofit that "empowers low- and moderate-income households ... [to] achieve the American Dream" in ways such as going to college, buying a house and saving money. It advocates for giving more Idahoans access to public health insurance and raising the state minimum wage.
The report added that Idaho has the second-lowest average annual pay in the U.S., and the third-lowest share of employers offering health insurance.
Visit http://scorecard.assetsandopportunity.org/2013/state/id to see the full report.