Idaho’s jobless rate dropped three-tenths of a percentage point to 9.1 percent in April, which is the largest single-month decline since 1983 and a sign that Idaho could be moving out of an economic slowdown. It marks the second straight month that state unemployment numbers have declined from a peak of 9.5 percent in February. Idaho fared better than the rest of the country in new labor data release Friday. The national unemployment rate rose to 9.9 percent in April.
The Idaho Department of Labor reported that 2,800 more people joined the labor force last month, the 11th straight monthly increase, but still down from a year ago. Forecasts show 691,300 Idahoans have jobs, while 69,200 are looking for work. The labor department said it paid out $12.8 million in unemployment benefits to approximately 46,000 unemployed workers last week.
A labor department news release said both the Boise and Coeur d’Alene metropolitan areas dropped below 10 percent unemployment in March for the first time this year. Among larger cities measured, Rexburg, Idaho Falls, Burley, and Lewiston have the lowest percentage of jobless workers, with unemployment rates below 7 percent.