Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Unemployment rate bumps up


Idaho's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate jumped another 0.3 of a point in July, hitting 4.1 percent to end a 37-month string of rates under 4 percent.

A sluggish construction sector and further job erosion in high technology continued to drive employment below year-earlier levels, said the Idaho Department of Labor in an Aug. 1 press release. That was compounded in July by the seasonal influx into the labor force of young workers who this year have been unable to find summer jobs.

The monthly rate has surged nearly a point and a half since December, from 2.7 percent at the end of 2007 to 4.1 percent in July. The rate has risen a full percentage point since April.

Total employment across the state fell 1,800 from June to 722,000, while the number of workers off the job rose 2,400 to just over 31,000, the highest number of unemployed Idaho workers since October 2004. Unemployment has risen by 10,000 people since the year began.

Over the last 30 years, the unemployment rate has remained the same from June to July 18 times and has increased only seven times. The 0.3 percent increase is the largest June-to-July increase on record.

Employment in July was the lowest statewide since September 2006, and the decline in people working has been steady since the year began, with nearly 16,000 fewer people at work in July than in January. Since April, employment has been running below year-earlier levels, the first time since September 2002, in the wake of the national recession.

Nationally, unemployment increased 0.2 of a percentage point to 5.7 percent, the highest rate since March 2004 and a full percentage point over July 2007.

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