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Unemployment rate across the state drops

By Chris Cole
Published On: Jun 20 2014 07:27:22 PM CDT

Good news Idaho – unemployment rates across the Gem State have decreased, dropping below 5 percent for the first time in six years. But that's not the only good news.

POCATELLO, Idaho -

Good news Idaho – unemployment rates across the Gem State have decreased, dropping below 5 percent for the first time in six years. But that's not the only good news, as total employment increased by 1,000 jobs from April to May this year.

The number of jobless people fell below 38,000 for the first time since July 2008.

"Things in Idaho are moving in the right direction," said Dan Cravens, regional economist with the Idaho Department of Labor. "That's good news for the citizens of the state and for our businesses."

Cravens said Bannock County also saw the decrease despite losing some jobs.

"There was actually a little bit of a job loss from month-to-month – less people working,” he said. “Likely that has to do with Idaho State University and coming to the end of the school year."

The industries creating the most jobs in Idaho include financial services, real estate, health care, mining and service industries. But that's not the only sign things in Idaho are looking up.

The Bureau of Economic Analysis listed Idaho as No. 5 on its list of states with the highest growth in gross domestic product. Cravens said as the GDP gains strength, so does the economy.

"Gross domestic product is what's produced in the economy,” Cravens said, “And there's a lot of things that factor into that. If your GDP is going up, that means there's likely going to be increased hiring. That means there's going to be a more robust economy in the coming months."

Overall, Bannock County saw a change in unemployment from 6.6 percent to 4.6 percent. Bonneville County saw a decrease from 5.7 percent to 4.1 percent. Cravens said Idaho Falls' unemployment numbers have generally been lower than Pocatello's, but the numbers have stayed pretty close as they've gone down.

The top state for economic growth is North Dakota, followed by Wyoming, West Virginia and Oklahoma. As we try to convince new companies to come to our area, local economic groups say North Dakota is one of the biggest competitors for those businesses.

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