In the final numbers released before election day, employment numbers for Idaho and the nation remain lousy.
The forecast for September's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in Idaho inched up another tenth of a percentage point to 9 percent. That's the second straight monthly increase in the Gem State's jobless rate, following two months at 8.8 percent. The post-recession unemployment rate peaked in February 2010 at 9.5 percent.
The Idaho Department of Labor estimates that the number of workers without jobs is approximately 68,000. That number doesn't include all of those who have exhausted unemployment benefits or have given up looking for work. Since the recession began in December 2007, unemployment benefits have been paid to 165,000 Idahoans, nearly one-fourth of the state's entire labor force. To date, the state has paid $508 million in state and federal benefits in 2010.
Nationwide, the unemployment rate held at 9.6 percent for September. The United States jobless rate has now topped 9.5 percent for 14 straight months, the longest stretch since the 1930s.