Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Idaho unemployment edges up to 6.4 percent

Blaine County rate also rises slightly


    Idaho’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rose two-tenths of a percentage point in June to 6.4 percent, despite strong growth in non-farm jobs, the Department of Labor announced last week. In Blaine County, the rate climbed from 5.6 percent in May to 5.8 percent in June.
    It was the second straight month unemployment was up, following 21 months during which the statewide rate steadily fell more than two full percentage points.
    The number of workers off the job increased nearly 1,900 to over 49,000, the highest total since last November. The number of employed dropped 400 to under 724,000, the lowest level since last October. The surge in total unemployment in part reflected an increase of more than 1,400 people entering labor force in June and looking for jobs. It was the second month in a row that the labor force has expanded, but the total at under 773,300 is only 200 higher than in June 2012, despite the addition of 18,000 jobs during the intervening 12 months.
    Employers in nearly all sectors expanded payrolls beyond the five-year average from May to June, adding 8,300 jobs. That increase was offset by greater than normal declines in state and local education employment to result in a net gain of 5,000 jobs between May and June. The only major sectors performing below the five-year average were mining, information, private education, health care and hotels and motels.
    While Idaho jobs increased 2.3 percent in the past year compared to 1.6 percent nationally, the Current Population Survey found an average of 170,000 of Idaho’s employed workers held part-time jobs—23 percent of total employment—during the 12 months through June. The survey also found that more than 33,000 workers had those part-time jobs because they could not find full-time work. In addition, an average of 43,000 workers, more than 6 percent of total employment, were working more than one job.  
    While Idaho’s jobless rate rose two-tenths of a percentage point, the national rate remained unchanged in June at 7.6 percent. Even with the increase, Idaho’s rate has been below the national rate for 141 months, nearly 12 years.
    The higher unemployment levels were recorded throughout the state. All but six of the 44 counties and all five metropolitan areas had rates higher than in May. Fourteen counties had rates higher than in June 2012, a reflection of the significant decline in unemployment experienced statewide a year ago.

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