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Federal Shutdown: Idaho Unemployment Insurance Benefits


Question: I am a federal worker who has been furloughed. Am I eligible for unemployment?

Answer: Yes. You are considered laid off due to lack of work and you need to meet personal and monetary eligibility. However as a federal employee, you also need to be aware of several unintended consequences of applying for unemployment insurance benefits.

Before you apply, please consider the following:

  • You will not receive your first unemployment insurance payment for approximately three weeks after you file for benefits.
  • If the federal government compensates you or back pays you for the work you missed during the furlough (as it has historically), you will receive an overpayment notice and you will be required to repay any unemployment insurance benefits you collect during that time.
  • Unemployment insurance overpayment collections are very aggressive. Your state and federal tax returns will be intercepted as payment if you fail to repay any benefits owed.

Question: What if I am one of the “essential” federal workers who are required to continue to work full time with no pay?

A: You would not be eligible for benefits if you are working full time, regardless of pay. Full time is normally defined as 40 hours per week.

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Idaho Labor Groups Celebrate Idaho Human Rights / Martin Luther King Jr. Day

News Release

For Immediate Release: Jan. 17, 2019
Information ContactCarmen Barney, Idaho Human Rights Commission, (208) 334-2873 ext. 3682; Renee Bade, Serve Idaho, (208) 332-3578 ext. 4061

Serve Idaho and the Idaho Human Rights Commission are participating in the Idaho Human Rights/Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebration at the Idaho State Capitol on Monday, Jan. 21.

Activities are centered in the Capitol rotunda, 2nd floor, beginning at noon Monday with a performance by Boise State University trumpeters.

Gov. Brad Little will read the Idaho Human Rights Day proclamation followed by a keynote speaker and inspiring messages from a diverse array of Idaho citizens. Labor Director Jani Revier will provide closing remarks. The event includes a performance by Mariachi De Mi Tierra, a mariachi composed of local area youth.

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Idaho Volunteers Recognized at Brightest Stars Awards Ceremony

News Release

For Immediate Release: Jan. 17, 2019
Information Contact: Renee Bade, (208) 332-3578 ext. 4061

Sixty-nine outstanding volunteers from throughout the state were honored at Idaho’s Brightest Stars Ceremony Wednesday in Boise. The annual event is organized by Serve Idaho, the Governor’s Commission on Service and Volunteerism.

“Volunteerism is a gift that benefits citizens and addresses needs in communities throughout our state,” said Gov. Brad Little. “These men and women are not seeking recognition, but it is important to acknowledge these Brightest Star recipients and their generous commitment to giving to others and ensuring a bright future for all citizens.”

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Around Idaho: Economic Activity in December 2018

Information provided in this article is from professional sources, news releases, weekly and daily newspapers, television and other media.

Northern Idaho
North Central Idaho
Southwestern Idaho
South Central Idaho
Eastern Idaho


NORTHERN IDAHO – Benewah, Bonner, Boundary, Kootenai & Shoshone counties

Bonner County

  • The YMCA of the Inland Northwest acquired Sandpoint West Athletic Club, with the intent of turning the health club into a new YMCA branch. Source: Spokane Journal of Business

Kootenai County

  • The city of Coeur d’Alene moved forward with a proposal to create an urban renewal district around the Kootenai Health hospital campus. The city council expressed concern about the cramped hospital corridor and noted that without efforts to consolidate properties around Kootenai Health and creating space to allow the hospital to grow, the hospital could be forced to move. Source: Coeur d’Alene Press
  • The Idaho Transportation Department will fund a one-year study on traffic management in Kootenai County, which will examine the viability of a regional traffic management center. The Kootenai Metropolitan Planning Organization will manage the study. Source: Coeur d’Alene Press
  • The Post Falls Planning and Zoning Commission approved a special use permit for the construction of a UPS distribution facility next to single-family homes in east Post Falls. The commission approved the permit after neighbors voiced their concerns about the potential noise and traffic that the distribution center would generate. Source: Coeur d’Alene Press


  • Terre Coffee and Bakery in Coeur d’Alene

Sam.Wolkenhauer@labor.idaho.gov, regional economist
Idaho Department of Labor
(208) 457-8789 ext. 4451

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Serve Idaho Commission Announces New Leadership

News Release

For Immediate Release: Jan. 8, 2019
Information Contact: Renee Bade, (208) 332-3578 ext. 4061

Colleen Schowalter

Colleen Schowalter

Colleen Schowalter of Boise and Kimber Russell of Meridian, were elected to serve as the 2019 chair and vice chair of Serve Idaho, the Governor’s Commission on Service and Volunteerism.

Chair Colleen Schowalter is the volunteer services coordinator and studio manager for the Idaho Commission for Libraries. She previously served for two years as an AmeriCorps VISTA (Volunteer in Service to America) and VISTA leader with the Idaho National Guard Family Programs and the Idaho Foodbank. She serves as the public affairs officer for the Boise Veterans Parade committee.

Kimber Russell

Vice Chair Kimber Russell is a business coach and the director of content development for Gritt Business Coaching. She also owns a small business that supports Treasure Valley small businesses. She previously worked as the merchandising and marketing manager for Stinker Stores and is finishing her doctorate of Business Administration from Walden University this year. She is active in supporting the Super Sam Foundation and the Idaho Foodbank.

“Both Ms. Schowalter and Ms. Russell bring an enthusiasm for service that is second to none,” said Program Manager Renee Bade. “We are extremely fortunate to have both of them serve as leaders of the commission this year.”


Serve Idaho, a division of the Idaho Department of Labor, encourages voluntary public service and volunteerism throughout the state. The Serve Idaho Commission is funded in part by the Corporation for National and Community Service and the Idaho Department of Labor.

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Demystifying Idaho’s Unemployment Rate

Idaho’s seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate was 2.6 percent for November 2018, the most recent data available. This is the 15th consecutive month that Idaho’s rate has been at or below the low rate of 3 percent. But what does 3 percent employment mean? Three percent of what?

The answer to what the unemployment rate means and how it’s determined is best understood within the context of the numbers that are also reported with it each month. The unemployment rate is a figure that measures the unemployed segment of the labor force, which is itself a subgroup of the civilian population and one of a few terms that describe different states of people in the population and their relationship with work and the economy.

The major subgroups of the larger civilian population include the labor force, employed and unemployed. The relationship among these various groups provide the basic measures of the participation rate and unemployment rate.

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Idaho Volunteers to be Recognized at Brightest Stars Ceremony


For Immediate Release: Dec. 21, 2018
Information Contact:Renee Bade, (208) 332-3578 ext. 4061

Volunteers across Idaho will be honored at the Idaho Brightest Stars award ceremony Jan. 16, 2019, in the Simplot Ballroom at Boise State University’s Student Union Building, 1700 University Drive, in Boise.

Serve Idaho, the Governor’s Commission on Service and Volunteerism, will hand out awards in seven categories to honor Idahoans who volunteered in 2018. The ceremony, open to the public, begins at 6 p.m.

Idahoans throughout the state submitted nominations and a panel of community reviewers made the final selection. The award categories for outstanding volunteer service are individual, business, student, senior citizen, teacher/professor, nonprofit/civic organization and veteran.

This event is one way Serve Idaho recognizes the considerable time and effort Idahoans contribute to making their communities better.

Award winners from last year’s Idaho’s Brightest Stars can be found at ServeIdaho.gov.

For more information on the event or to find volunteer opportunities near you, visit ServeIdaho.gov.


Serve Idaho, a division of the Idaho Department of Labor, encourages voluntary public service and volunteerism throughout the state. The Serve Idaho Commission is funded in part by the Corporation for National and Community Service and the Idaho Department of Labor.

Idaho’s November Unemployment Rate Down Slightly to 2.6 Percent

For Immediate Release: Dec. 21, 2018

Information Contacts: Craig Shaul (208) 332-3570 ext. 3201 or Karen Jarboe Singletary (208) 332-3570 ext. 3215

Idaho’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 2.6 percent in November, down slightly from October and continuing at or below 3 percent for the 15th consecutive month.

The state’s labor force – the total number of people 16 years of age and older working or looking for work – was 854,243, increasing by 0.1 percent and essentially unchanged since July.

Total employment increased by 1,198 to 831,851, while the number of unemployed people decreased by 433 to 22,392.

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Idaho’s Standard Unemployment Insurance Tax Rate Drops 6.6% for 2019


For Immediate Release: Dec. 17, 2018

Information Contacts: Georgia Smith (208) 332-3570 x 2102 or Salvador Vazquez, (208) 332‐3570 ext. 3218

Idaho’s growing economy, a consistent decrease in layoffs and a solvent Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund are all contributing to a 6.6 percent decrease in unemployment insurance tax rates for 2019.

The state’s base unemployment insurance tax rate – used to calculate taxes existing Idaho employers pay will drop from 0.94 percent in 2018 to 0.878 for 2019. A new employer in Idaho will start with a tax rate of 1.0 percent – the lowest rate allowed by federal conformity requirements.

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Census Bureau Releases New Data on Idaho Cities, Towns from 2013-2017

American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates

Idaho’s slight increase in the workforce, a rise in median household income, an increase in median gross rent and a decrease in the number of persons living below the poverty level are just a few of the many statistics released this week by the U.S. Census Bureau.

The Census Bureau’s 2013–2017 American Community Survey produces a rolling sample of estimates on more than 40 social, economic and housing characteristics for U.S. cities, towns, counties and other geographies, regardless of their population size. It is the only source for comprehensive data for 38 of Idaho’s 44 counties and 198 incorporated cities.

Narrative profiles offering short analytic reports on all 40 sets of data for the nation, states, counties, places and census tracts can be accessed from the U.S. Census website at https://www.census.gov/acs/www/data/data-tables-and-tools/narrative-profiles/2017/

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