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Jobless rate flat as labor force shrinks

BOISE, Idaho - Another 1,400 people left the Idaho labor force in March as the state's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate held steady at 6.2 percent.

According to the Idaho Department of Labor, it was the third straight monthly decline in the state's labor force and highest one-month loss since the hear of the recession three years ago.

Idaho employers hired 13,000 workers in March, about 500 fewer than March of 2012.

As a result, total employment fell for the second month in a row, dropping more than 600 to 724,500.

Unemployment insurance benefits totaling $15.8 million were paid to an average 16,000 idled workers during March. Those payments are down 21 percent for March, 2012. Another 5,500 workers were paid $5.4 million in federal extended benefits. That program formally ends in December, and federal budget cutting curtailed those benefits this spring.

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