Idaho’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate dropped another two-tenths of a percentage point in December to 6.6 percent—the lowest rate in nearly four years.
At the same time, the employment picture continues to improve in Blaine County. The 2012 unemployment rate in Blaine County was 7 percent, down from 8.8 percent in 2011 and 8.9 percent in 2010.
Every county in the state had lower December rates than a year earlier except for Custer, which was hit by molybdenum mine layoffs.
The state’s jobless rate, which has dropped 2.3 percentage points in 17 months, fell in December on the strength of rising employment. The labor force expanded, albeit just fractionally, for the first time since last May, and job opportunities were sufficient to accommodate not only 300 new entrants to the workforce but 1,500 workers who were previously without jobs. Rate declines in recent months have been due in large part to labor force contraction.
Employers maintained hiring at or above December levels of the past five years, and the improvement was felt throughout the state.