Idaho jobless rate drops below 8 percent in March

Idaho’s seasonally adjusted March unemployment rate dropped below 8 percent for the first time in 2-and-a-half years as more Idahoans found work than during any other month since October 2006.

The tenth-of-a-point decline in the jobless rate to 7.9 percent marked the eighth straight month that Idaho’s rate has fallen. Over 2,500 more workers were on the job in March than in February as employers across the state hired more than 13,500 people to replace retirees and others as well as fill new jobs.

Contractors and manufacturers both added more workers between February and March than average over the past five years including three years of the worst economic conditions the state has faced in generations. But even with persisting gains, construction employment remains at mid-1990s levels while manufacturing payrolls are still at early 1990s levels.

Retailers, transportation companies and employers in the financial sector also maintained payrolls ahead of the five-year average while the rate of hiring slipped slightly in professional and business services and health care and education.

Some 67,000 people were without jobs, and total employment was under 702,000.

Nez Perce County’s unemployment rate in March was 6.5 percent; Clearwater County, 12.7 percent; Idaho County, 10.2 percent; Latah County, 6.5 percent; and Lewis County, 5.4 percent. Lewiston’s rate of 6.5 percent tied Meridian for the lowest among the state’s 11 largest cities. (Idaho Department of Labor)

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