Idaho unemployment numbers rose to 9.5 percent in February, up 0.2 percent from January. That puts Idaho close to the state record 9.6 percent for seasonally adjusted unemployment set in 1982 and 1983. Idaho is also nearing the national unemployment rate of 9.7 percent.
In February, Idaho had 71,600 jobless workers, a state record. The Idaho Department of Labor said more than 52,000 idled workers collected more than $15.7 million in unemployment this week. The labor department has paid out $181 million in total unemployment checks in 2010 so far. Last year, $643 million in unemployment benefits were collected.
The labor department said hotels and restaurants showed modest job gains, while construction, trucking, and financial and business services declined. The civilian labor force, the total number of Idahoans over 16 either employed or looking for work, hit 755,600, the eighth straight month with an increase. A labor department news release says that could be a sign of optimism among workers.
Out of Idaho's 44 counties, 18 now have jobless rates higher than 10 percent. Idaho's six largest counties, Ada, Canyon, Bonneville, Bannock, Twin Falls and Nez Perce, all saw their unemployment rates rise. Adams County, on the state's western border, has the highest unemployment rate in Idaho at 17.7 percent. Franklin County in southeast Idaho has the lowest unemployment at 4.7 percent.
Read the full news release at the labor department website.