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Regional Unemployment Rising; State Rates Declining

We’re learning that while Idaho’s unemployment rate as a state is improving, southeastern Idaho’s rate is not.

The April jobs report is interesting because southeast Idaho as a whole usually outperforms the rest of the state when it comes to unemployment rates, but not this time around.

Pocatello’s jobless rate rose from 7.2 percent to 7.4 percent with Idaho Falls growing from 6.8 percent to 7 percent.

Overall, five out of nine counties in the region saw disappointing numbers last month.

Regional economist Will Jensen said these numbers are already seasonally adjusted, so the increase in unemployment may be due to employers holding off on offering summer jobs.

“If we see improvement in May, then we can kind of chalk this up to a statistical anomaly. But if we continue to see a flat rate that doesn’t change at all, or if we see the rate increase again, then we can start looking at other things that would have caused it to increase,” said Jensen.

Jensen said overall our regional unemployment is starting to get back to pre-recession levels.

The Department of Labor is seeing more job postings than ever and state unemployment has declined for nine months straight.

At 7.7 percent, Idaho unemployment is still well below the national average of 8.1 percent.

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