State lowest level in five years

Statewide last month, 728,600 people were employed, pushing the unemployment rate to 5.7 percent, its lowest level in more than five years, according to the Idaho Department of Labor.

Preliminary estimates by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics showed nearly 3,800 Idaho workers found jobs in December, the largest single-month increase since January 1994. That surge dropped the unemployment rate four-tenths of a percentage point, matching the jobless rate in October 2008.

Idaho’s unemployment rate has dropped a full percentage point since October, reducing the ranks of the unemployed by more than 7,300 as the labor force expanded slightly in December. Employers across the state maintained payrolls at more than 645,000, the highest December level since the end of the expansion in 2007.

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