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New unemployment claims in North Central Idaho far below stratospheric levels earlier

by Kathryn Tacke, Regional Economist, Idaho Department of Labor

Thursday, the Idaho Department of Labor released data about new unemployment claims filed in Idaho in the week that ended May 30.

Here's some information about North Central Idaho.

In the region, 113 workers filed initial claims in the week ending May 30, compared to 102 the week before. Latah County was the only county to see an increase between the week ending May 23 and the following week. Those claims increases mostly came from employees in the education sector and are normal for this time of the year when jobs end at the university and school districts.

Claims filed in the last two weeks are much below the peak of 1,020 claims filed the week of March 28, but still higher than normal before the coronavirus.

The graphs below show initial claims filed each week ending on the date indicated for each of the region's counties.

Total Impact of the Coronavirus So Far

In the first eleven weeks of the coronavirus, more North Central Idaho residents filed unemployment insurance claims than in all of 2019.

Although COVID-19 slammed North Central Idaho workers hard, it did less damage here than in the Northern, South Central. and Southwest regions of the state-as indicated by the chart below.

Of counties in the region, Lewis County workers suffered the biggest loss in proportion to their employment size, as the graph below indicates. About 12 percent of Lewis County residents who were employed before the coronavirus filed new unemployment claims between March 15 and May 30. Idaho and Latah counties had the smallest job losses relative to their pre-coronavirus employment.

In Nez Perce County, the industrial sectors experiencing the largest job losses over the last 11 weeks were: health care and social assistance (518 claims), leisure and hospitality (347), construction (253), and retail trade (175). In the last two weeks, healthcare and social assistance had the most claims, trailed most closely by construction and leisure and hospitality.

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