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New Unemployment Claims Steady, Idaho's Continued Claims Drop

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The number of Idahoans filing new initial unemployment claims stayed under 4,000 for the third straight week, but new claims remain nearly four times higher than this time a year ago.

The Idaho Department of Labor says there were 3,631 new initial unemployment claims for the week ending June 12. Healthcare and social assistance jobs were hardest-hit last week, at 15% of total claims.

Workers under the age of 35 made up 43% of initial claims.

Continued claims saw the largest drop since peaking six weeks ago, falling 23% from the week prior. The 36,764 continued claim requests filed last week is fewest since early April. Fewer people requesting weekly benefits suggests more are going back to work.

The agency also said it's making progress on the backlog of pending claims, reporting a reduction of more than half last week, from 42,000 to just over 20,000 remaining pending claims. 

In a statement, the department credited Governor Brad Little’s June 11 executive order relaxing some unemployment regulations for helping speed up the process of clearing the backlog.

Staffing additions have also helped. The agency said it's adding 50 new people, doubling the size of its call center starting today. Three million dollars in pandemic funding approved by the Governor last week funded that staff expansion.

The Labor Department says it should be completely caught up on pending claims by the end of July. 

The extra $600 weekly federal pandemic benefit is set to expire July 31.

Idahoans who filed for unemployment benefits but returned to work after March 1 can apply through their employer for a 'return-to-work' bonus starting July 13 at rebound.idaho.gov.

Follow Troy Oppie on Twitter @GoodBadOppie for more local news.

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Troy Oppie is a reporter and local host of 'All Things Considered' for Boise State Public Radio News. He's also heard Saturday nights on Boise State Public Radio Music's Jazz Conversations.