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Jobless rate up for third straight month

| November 6, 2010 9:00 PM

Total employment in Idaho slipped farther in October, pushing the forecasted seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate up another notch to 9.1 percent, according to a press release from the Idaho Department of Labor.

It was the third straight monthly increase in the rate, IDL noted.

Employers remained cautious about the economy's future. While there were relatively few layoffs during October, employers hired fewer new workers - the least of any October since complete record keeping began in 1998, IDL said.

Private businesses shed 5,300 jobs from September to October, with only transportation and education escaping the seasonal decline, IDL said. That loss of jobs, smaller than employers have normally experienced over the past five years, was partially offset by increased employment at all levels of public education as the fall term began.

The October job listing report from the Conference Board, a Washington, D.C.-based business think tank, found Idaho had one job listed for every three unemployed workers, IDL noted - up slightly from September's report, but a marked improvement from July, which showed one job for every four unemployed.

Overall, nonfarm jobs fell by 3,100 from September, reaching 608,200 - about 1 percent below the October 2009 number, IDL said. Current-year job totals have ranged between 0.6 percent and 1.2 percent below the previous year since March.

Nationally, the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate remained unchanged, holding at 9.6 percent for the third month in a row. While Idaho's rate has been rising into the fall, October marked one month and nine years that the Idaho rate has been lower than the nation's, IDL reported.

In 2009, Idaho's October unemployment rate was 8.8 percent, the department noted, making October 2010 the 38th month in a row that the current rate exceeded levels from one year earlier.

An increase in Idaho's unemployment rate and a decline in employment have been typical from September to October since the economy began slowing in 2007, but the loss of employment this October was the smallest since the recession began in December 2007.

Total employment fell for the fifth straight month to 687,000 - 3,000 more than a year earlier, IDL said. The number of workers without jobs rose by 1,300 to 69,200.

An average of 31,400 idled workers received unemployment insurance benefits each week in October, down from more than 37,300 in October 2009, IDL said. Benefit payments from both the state trust fund and the federal government totaled $34.1 million.

County, city and metropolitan area unemployment rates for October will be released Nov. 19, IDL said.

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