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New Idaho unemployment claims jump 26% to 5,500

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Idaho officials said July 3 that new unemployment claims jumped 26% the previous week to about 5,500.

The Idaho Department of Labor said that it received about 1,100 more new claims compared with the week before that.

Idaho’s unemployment numbers have been edging down under Republican Gov. Brad Little’s reopening plan during the coronavirus pandemic. But a spike in new infections in recent weeks has led to the closing of bars and the return of tougher restrictions in highly populated Ada County.

Idaho’s unemployment rate is 8.9%, with about 80,000 people looking for work.

The Labor Department on Wednesday said that it had cleared 85% of 42,000 pending unemployment claims, and expected to work through the remaining claims by mid-July.

The agency has received more than 160,000 unemployment claims in about the last four months due to the pandemic and the shutting down of businesses.

As of June 27, the agency said, total unemployment benefits paid through state and federal programs reached $567 million.

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