From the December 2009 Idaho Observer:

Unemployment mushrooms across the nation

According to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are currently 31 million Americans who are unemployed, including those who are involuntarily working part-time and those who want a job but have given up trying to find one. It should be noted that these figures do not include the thousands of small businesses, ranchers and farmers who have been forced to close shop or are digging deeper into debt to stay in business. In the face of the worst economic upheaval since the Great Depression, millions of Americans are either homeless or facing being homeless.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Friday that October’s national jobless rate was 10.2 percent — the highest rate since April 1983. The official unemployment rate was 9.8 percent in September 2009, 7.6 percent in January 2009 and 4.7 percent in November 2007. The end of 2007 has been pegged as the start of the recession.

In 2009, the U.S. lost 190,000 jobs in October (one month) and has lost 4.1 million jobs since January.

How accurate are these figures when assessing the number of jobless people who are seeking employment in your county? As we entered December 2009, Kootenai County, Idaho reported an unemployment rate of 23 percent and Bonner County, Idaho reported a rate of 26 percent. The Idaho Observer is interested in finding out the real statistics (and stories) of just how serious joblessness and the economy are where you live. We are planning on doing a story of feedback we receive from our readers in the January edition of The I.O. To contribute to this important story, write us with your county’s latest official statistics or email us at with “unemployment figures” in the subject line.

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