Thursday, January 26, 2012

North Central Idaho sees improvements in labor market

Labor force statistics indicate the north central Idaho economy has been growing in recent months.

North central Idaho's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate moved down another notch from 8.2 percent in November to 8.1 percent in December. A strengthening economy meant the region's unemployment rate in December was significantly below the 9.4 percent in the same month the year before.

All of the counties in north central Idaho, except Nez Perce County, saw their unemployment rates drop between November and December. Even Clearwater County’s when from 13.6 percent in November to 13.3 percent in December. In December of last year it was 15 percent.

Nez Perce County’s unemployment rate went up from 6.9 percent to 7.2 percent, as the full impact of the Clearwater Paper layoff began to be felt. Despite the increase, its rate was below the 7.8 percent of the previous December.

Despite its neighbor’s unemployment increase, Asotin County’s rate fell to 7.8 percent in December after jumping to 9.7 percent in November. Its rate was down a full percentage point from 8.8 percent in December 2010.

Industries showing growing strength in recent months include manufacturing, insurance, logging, retail, restaurants, and health care.

In December 2010, about 4,400 north central Idaho residents were unemployed. Twelve months later, about 3,900 were. That was an 11 percent drop in unemployment. In the same period, the number of unemployed Idahoans fell nearly 13 percent and the number of unemployed Americans fell 9 percent.

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