The Idaho unemployment rate was unchanged in December at 3.3 percent, ending 2006 with an average annual rate of 3.3 percent, a record low for the state and significantly below the national rate. The December figures are the latest numbers available on Idaho unemployment trends.
The year ended as it began with the rate of 3.3 percent. December was two-tenths of a percentage point below the December 2005 rate and marked the 20th month that Idaho’s rate has been below 4 percent. The national rate was steady at 4.5 percent, the 63rd month it has been higher than the Idaho rate.
For 2006, the average number of Idahoans working was a record high 733,000 in a record civilian labor force of 759,000. That was 23,000 more people with jobs than in 2005. The average number unemployed, 25,400, ranked third lowest since the current calculation method began in 1978. For the second straight year, no county posted an average annual unemployment rate in double digits.
Still, the Idaho unemployment news wasn’t good on all fronts. Four counties in the state had an annual average unemployment rate above 7 percent. Clearwater County had the highest at 8.4 percent. Benewah followed at 7.9 percent, then Boundary at 7.6 percent and Shoshone at 7.1 percent.
Only three rural counties reported unemployment rates of 7 percent or more in December. Boundary County had the highest rate at 8.6 percent. A year ago, five rural counties posted jobless rates of 7 percent or more with none experiencing a double-digit rate. Boundary County did have the highest rate one year ago at 9.2 percent.
The lowest county unemployment rate in December was 1.5 percent in Teton County. Thirteen additional counties reported rates of 3 percent or less. One year ago, there were also 14 counties at or below 3 percent and only two below 2 percent—Owyhee at 1.6 percent and Madison at 1.8 percent. Teton County is forecast to have the lowest annual average unemployment rate in 2006 at 2 percent. Twelve other counties reported annual average rates at or below 3 percent.
Idaho requires that two posters be posted regarding statutes effecting business and employees: Idaho Unemployment Insurance Posters and Idaho Minimum wage posters. Idaho Unemployment Insurance Posters advise all employees of unemployment insurance benefits.
Idaho Unemployment Insurance Posters strongly emphasize that the program is, in fact, an insurance program managed through he Employment Security Trust Fund, a fund derived from taxation of the company or employer. No portion of the cost of the program is deductible from employee earnings. All employees, except those specifically exempt, are insured for compensation during periods of involuntary unemployment.
Idaho Unemployment Insurance posters urge employees to file immediately after separation “to avoid possible loss of benefits.”
Like other types of insurance, the unemployment insurance program requires that employees meet certain conditions before qualifying to receive payment. To qualify, employees must meet both personal and monetary eligibility requirements. Unemployed military and federal workers will need to bring special documents with them when they apply for benefits.
Employees must be unemployed through no fault of their own. Employees must have been laid off due to lack of work, voluntarily quit with good cause connected with the employment, or been discharged but not for misconduct. Employees must be physically able to work full-time, ready to go to work, and be willing and able to accept both full and part-time work.
Monetary eligibility is determined by previous employment. Most work performed in all states qualifies a worker for unemployment insurance benefits. Self-employment does not normally qualify for unemployment insurance.
A monetary determination will show the wages paid to worker by employers who have contributed to the unemployment insurance fund during their individual base periods (the first four of the last five completed quarters before the beginning of your claim).
Benefits are figured by the amount of earnings during this 12-month base period. A weekly benefit amount is determined by the calendar quarter with the highest earnings. To view all of the Idaho labor laws for both the state and federal please see the Idaho unemployment insurance posters.