Idaho’s unemployment rate fell to 4.4 percent in December, down one-half of a percentage point from November’s rate of 4.9 percent and 7.4 percentage points below a historic high of 11.8 percent in April, the state Department of Labor reported.

The state’s economy continues to recover from losses incurred during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the department’s figures indicate.

Idaho’s labor force grew by 3,173 in December to 907,552, up 1.4 percent over its pre-pandemic level in March. The total number of employed people increased by 6,916 to 867,423 in December. The 0.8 percent increase in total employed Idahoans was the first significant increase since July, the department stated.

Consequently, the number of unemployed Idahoans fell to 40,129, as 3,743 people found work.

In Blaine County, the unemployment rate was 4.7 percent in December—down from 5.5 percent in November—with 625 people unemployed out of a workforce of 13,437, the department reported.

December’s statewide labor force participation rate—the percentage of people 16 years and older with jobs or looking for work—was 63.9 percent, unchanged from November, the department reported.

Nationally, the December unemployment rate was unchanged at 6.7 percent, with the number of unemployed increasing by 8,000, to 10.7 million, the department reported. In December 2019, the national unemployment rate was 3.6 percent and the number of unemployed people was 5.8 million.

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