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Idaho unemployment drops to 5.5%, but COVID-19 cases surge

Idaho unemployment drops to 5.5%, but COVID-19 cases surge

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Minidoka Memorial Hospital

Respiratory therapist Willow May cleans Thursday, Nov. 12, 2020, at Minidoka Memorial Hospital in Rupert.

BOISE (AP) — Idaho’s unemployment rate has dropped to 5.5% as about 5,400 nonfarm workers regained jobs in October, officials said Friday.

The Idaho Department of Labor said that about 864,000 Idaho residents are employed and that about 50,000 are looking for work as the surging coronavirus pandemic continues hampering the economy.

The unemployment rate for October fell from September’s 6.1%.

Officials said seven industry sectors saw some job gains, led by leisure and hospitality with an increase of 4.9%.

Nonfarm jobs are at about 763,000. Officials said that’s the first time since last spring’s pandemic-related job losses that nonfarm jobs equaled or exceeded levels from the previous year.

Meanwhile, Idaho is quickly approaching 90,000 coronavirus infections, Johns Hopkins University reports. Through Thursday, the virus has killed 835 residents.

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