Idaho unemployment rate edges down as workforce shrinks

Statesman staffNovember 22, 2013 

Employment in Idaho rose slightly in October, injecting some stability into the economy, the Idaho Department of Labor reported Friday. But the share of the state's population in the workforce reached its lowest point in more than 30 years.

The state’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was unchanged from August to September at 6.8 percent and then slipped to 6.7 percent in October. Nationally unemployment edged up in October to 7.3 percent, reflecting the temporary layoff of federal employees during the government shutdown the first 16 days of October.

Idaho’s labor force participation rate, which is the share of adults working or actively looking for work, dropped below 64 percent in October for the first time since 1981. The national labor force participation rate in October was 62.9 percent, the lowest since May 1978.

The number of Idaho workers without jobs rose slightly in September before falling more than 1,000 to 51,400 in October. Total employment remained slightly below employment levels of October 2012 when the rate was 6.6 percent.

Businesses reported hiring nearly 20,000 people in October, the second highest total for any month since the expansion ended in December 2007 and the highest October total since 2000. But nearly all of those jobs were replacement jobs.

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