Idahos falling jobless rate is shrinking the number of weeks idled workers can qualify for unemployment benefits.
Unemployed workers are now eligible for up to 54 weeks of state and federal unemployment benefits, down from a high of 99 weeks in the midst of the recession. The latest drop, which pulled the number of weeks down from 63 to 54, was triggered as the states three-month average unemployment rate fell below seven percent in December. Idahos unemployment rate in December was 6.6 percent.
Several hundred unemployed workers who were drawing benefits in the 54-63 week period will be allowed to finish. Others cannot draw beyond the 54 weeks.
In Idaho, laid off workers can draw between 10 weeks and 26 weeks of state unemployment benefits and then qualify for up to 28 weeks of federal extended benefits. About 5,600 workers got federal benefits last week.