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Idaho’s unemployment-insurance tax rate drops for 2017

The Idaho Department of Labor hosts a job fair at its Downtown Boise office in 2013. The state credits the economic recovery with helping drive down unemployment-insurance claims and boosting the size of the fund that pays them.
The Idaho Department of Labor hosts a job fair at its Downtown Boise office in 2013. The state credits the economic recovery with helping drive down unemployment-insurance claims and boosting the size of the fund that pays them. doswald@idahostatesman.com

The tax Idaho employers pay to fund unemployment-insurance payments will fall slightly next year.

The cut comes as the state has built up its unemployment-insurance trust fund to a $674 million balance — enough to withstand a recession like the one Idaho went through several years ago, the Idaho Department of Labor says.

Almost five years ago, Idaho was forced to sell $202 million in bonds to pay a debt it owed to the federal government. The federal loan helped pay more than $600 million in jobless benefits during the recession that reached its lowest point in 2009.

“If Idaho fell into recession today - one roughly the same size as it did during the Great Recession - the state should not need to borrow any money,” said Ken Edmunds, the department director, in a news release.

Consumers don’t see the tax, because it is paid by businesses. How much they pay depends on how many unemployment-insurance claims are filed by their former employees. The more claims filed, the more they pay.

The standard tax rate, paid by new employers, will decrease by 6.3 percent to 1.395 percent, down from 1.488 percent in 2016. That follows a rate decrease of 6 percent between 2015 and 2016.

Each Idaho employer pays the tax quarterly on the first $37,800 of a covered worker’s annual pay, said Bob Uhlenkott, chief research officer in the department’s Research and Analysis Bureau.

Employers fall into 13 rate classes. Most employers pay less than the standard rate. Click here for details.

David Staats: 208-377-6417, @DavidStaats

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