Unemployment

Idaho's unemployment rate dropped another tenth of a percentage point in February to 5.3 percent, the lowest rate in more than 5 years.

That decline came as the participation rate - which is the percentage of the population 16 and older working or actively looking for work - fell a tenth of a percentage point to 63.7 percent.

Idaho's participation rate dropped below 64 percent last October - the first time in over 30 years - and has been gradually sliding since.

A Boise call center that helps people sign up for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act is laying off nearly its entire work force as the federal exchange open enrollment period ends.

Maximus Inc. hired about 1,800 people for the Boise facility last year.

In a letter to employees on Monday, company officials announced that 1,600 employees will be laid off in April because they won't be needed when the federal enrollment period ends. Company officials say some employees may be hired back this fall, in preparation for the next enrollment period.

Idaho's share of the now-expiring extended federal unemployment benefit program is ending at $800 million in payments, with the last 2,500 long-term unemployed workers in the state getting their final cut this week.

Congress didn't renew the extended benefit program that began in 2008, just after the recession began, to ease pain of escalating unemployment amid the housing bubble's burst and deep dip of the stock market.

But the extended program is just a share of money paid out to jobless people since 2008.

Idaho's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate fell by a record sixth-tenths of a percentage point to 6.1 percent in November.

The state Labor Department said Friday the rate matches the post-recession low posted last spring and the decline is double the previous record one-month swing of three-tenths of a percentage point.

The agency says about 3,800 more Idahoans were at work in November, with total unemployment dropping to 47,300, the lowest level since last spring.

In November 2012, Idaho's unemployment rate was 6.5 percent with over 50,000 people out of work.

About 45,000 people in the Northwest will face the new year without the unemployment benefits they've come to rely on.

The holiday season will mean an end to unemployment checks for about 1.3 million Americans, including about 45,000 jobless in Washington, Oregon and Idaho. 

Call Center Job Fair
Molly Messick / Boise State Public Radio

Idaho's unemployment insurance claims dropped to their lowest level since 2006, a year of strong economic growth that preceded the deep recession that began in December 2007.

The Department of Labor said Monday it paid 7,462 regular benefit claims during the third week of November, 14 fewer than that week in 2006.

The amount paid was still 23 percent higher than 2006, however, because the average benefit is $25 higher this year at $255, reflecting benefit increases over the past seven years.

job fair, Meridian, unemployment
Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

Idaho's jobless rate held steady in September, and dropped slightly in October. The Idaho Labor Department reports the unemployment rate was unchanged from August to September at 6.8 percent. It fell in October to 6.7 percent.

Normally, jobless rates come out once a month. Friday’s two-for-one report was released because of the partial government shutdown over the first two weeks of October.

Mat79 / Flickr Creative Commons

H.J. Heinz Co. is closing three plants in North America and cutting 1,350 jobs in an effort to operate more efficiently.

The food maker said Thursday that it will close facilities in South Carolina, Idaho and Canada over the next six to eight months.

KPVI reports 410 people will be laid off from the Pocatello, Idaho facility.

Washington and Idaho want recently furloughed federal workers to repay unemployment benefits. But a quirk in Oregon law means affected workers there will get to keep whatever they received.

Anyone waiting to learn about unemployment in Idaho for the month of September is just going to have to be patient.

The monthly jobless report was supposed to be released Friday.

But the 16-day partial federal government shutdown has put that deadline in jeopardy, and state labor officials say they have no idea when the latest unemployment figures will be ready for public release. State officials say the lack of federal staff has made calculation of jobless claims and other data impossible.

Idaho's Furloughed Federal Workers Begin Applying For Unemployment

Oct 11, 2013
NPCA Photos / Flickr Creative Commons

The Times-News reports at least 1,100 furloughed federal workers have applied for unemployment benefits in Idaho since the government partially shutdown Oct. 1.

Dutchman RV, Camper
Courtesy Dutchman Manufacturing Inc.

A recreational vehicle production plant in Burley is closing next month and moving its work to Pendleton, Ore.

The Times-News reports Indiana-based Dutchmen Manufacturing Inc. announced last week the Burley RV plant will close on Nov. 15, affecting more than 160 employees.

Dutchmen Vice President David Thomas says the employees who work in production have been offered the opportunity to relocate to Pendleton.

Job fair, unemployment
Emilie Ritter Saunders / StateImpact Idaho

Idaho's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate rose two-tenths of a percentage point in August to 6.8 percent.

The Department of Labor says the state's jobless rate has risen seven tenths of a percentage point since April, one of the largest rate increases among the states in the past four months. Still, the rate is down from 7 percent last August.

The number of Idaho workers without jobs was nearly 52,300, the highest total since September 2012.

Idaho's Jobless Rate Continues To Climb

Aug 16, 2013
job fair
Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

Idaho's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate ticked up two-tenths of a percentage point in July to 6.6 percent. The Idaho Labor Department reports this is the third-straight month the jobless rate has increased.

Total employment was down by 800 jobs, falling to 723,100. That's the lowest total employment figure reported since Oct. 2012.

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