Idaho unemployment rate lowest in nearly 4 years

Associated Press

BOISE, Idaho (AP) -- New figures from the Idaho Department of Labor show the state's unemployment rate has fallen to its lowest level in nearly four years.

Data released Friday show the jobless rate for December at 6.6 percent, a drop of 2.3 percentage points in 17 months.

The agency says that for the first time since last May, Idaho job opportunities were sufficient for 1,500 idled workers as well as 300 new entrants to the workforce.

The agency found that employers maintained hiring at or above December levels for the past five years.

Nonfarm jobs in Idaho at the end of 2012 averaged nearly 613,000, 1.1 percent higher than in 2011.

But the agency says Idaho has recovered only about 18 percent of the 50,000 jobs lost during the recession.