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Idaho's unemployment rate falls to 5.3 percent

BOISE, Idaho - Idaho's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate fell to 5.3 percent in February.  It is a one tenth percent improvement over January and the lowest rate in five and a half years.

Much of the improvement is credited to the labor force "participation rate".  That reflects the percentage of the population 16 and older working or actively looking for work.   That number fell a tenth of a percent in February to 63.7 percent.   State Department of Labor officials said that probably reflects an influx of retirees.

According to the department, total employment set its sixth straight monthly record at 735,000, up 1,100 from January.   The number of workers without jobs dropped below 41,000 for the first time since August, 2008.  

An average of 14,700 workers received benefits each week in February, down 21 percent from a year earlier. 

Half of Idaho's 44 counties had unemployment rates below the statewide average including Bannock, Bonneville, Nez Perce, and Ada.

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