June was a heady month for Idaho's joblessness rate.
According to the Idaho Department of Labor, last month, Idaho businesses hired more people than any month since the mid-2000s. It was also the 35th straight month that the number of jobless Idahoans has declined.
While employers created new jobs at a slightly lower rate than the average in the last few years, the labor force itself (those working and those actively seeking work) declined by nearly 1,000 people. It was the first drop in the labor force since September. In part, this decline has been attributed to retirements and people ceasing their searches for employment.
Nevertheless, the number of new hires exceeded 22,000—that's the first time since September 2006. Three-fourths of those hires replaced existing workers.
Stress on Idaho's Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund has continued to abate, and about 6,900 idled workers received a total of $7.3 million in jobless benefits in June, down from an average of 8,100 claimants receiving more than $11 million in state benefits in 2013.
June was also the first time since March 2008 that no Idaho county had a double-digit jobless rate. The highest jobless rate in June belonged to Clearwater County, which has a 9.6 percent jobless rate. However, 14 of Idaho's 44 counties posted higher jobless rates over May 2014. The lowest jobless rate was 2.9 percent in Oneida County. Twenty-four counties posted jobless rates below the statewide rate of 4.7 percent.