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Unemployment jumps in November

A slight increase in the labor force and a big increase in unemployment drove Idaho’s unemployment rate to 9.4 percent in November, state Department of Labor spokesman Bob Fick said. That compared to 9.1 percent in October and 9 percent in November 2009.

Only retail, education and health care showed gains, a department report said.

Seasonal job gains fell below expectations, Fick said. Retail employment was up 2.1 percent from October but remained below normal because it is coming off a weak base, he said. Construction dropped 4 percent but normally falls by less than 3 percent. Leisure and hospitality remains weak on limited business travel.

One bright spot was manufacturing employment, he said. It dropped less than 1 percent from October to November compared to about 1.5 percent normally.

“Since the summer, we have seen manufacturing pretty much hold its own,” Fick said. “It seems to be stabilizing.”

November 2009 saw significant, non-seasonal job losses in manufacturing, he said.

The Idaho Department of Labor reported 70,900 people were unemployed in November out of a civilian labor force of 756,600. A month earlier, unemployment was 69,100 and the labor force totaled 755,900. Officials said the labor force has been around 756,000 since June.

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