FEATURED PROGRAM – April 10

Dave Darrow, Manager, Bonners Ferry Office

Idaho Department of Labor

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Dave Darrow with Rotarian Wilma DeVore

Dave Darrow has been with the Department of Labor for about 15 years, having served in Coeur d’Alene for 9 years and Bonners Ferry for 6 years. In about three weeks, Dave will transfer to Moscow.  He spoke about the influence of the newest business, Super 1 where approximately 100 positions are open, although 25-30 of these will be filled by transfers from their Sandpoint store.  He stressed the positive impact that the store will have on other business as well.  He also discussed the impact of 250-300 individuals relocating to North Dakota for jobs from our area.  Dave further mentioned that the increase in felonious claims for unemployment has prompted the Department of Labor to strengthen its policies and procedures regarding claims. 

Dave also addressed Rotary 15 months ago (January 11, 2011) when unemployment in Boundary County was over 16%.  This level was created in large part because of the scarcity of a manufacturing base and a high timber presence. These two factors are still with us in 2012. However, we reported in the Rotary newsletter at that time, “another factor contributing to the unemployment situation (in 2011) is the fact that unemployment compensation until 2010-2011 was limited to a maximum of 26 weeks. Under Emergency Unemployment Compensation legislation, a recipient who is eligible to receive 26 weeks can now receive up to 99 weeks of compensation, nearly 2 years.  Consequently, employers are not hiring individuals who have been unemployed for nearly 2 years because of (‘rusty’) job skills. And because an individual must be looking for work to continue receiving unemployment compensation, as soon as benefits end, the unemployed stop looking for work.  Adding to this bleak picture on a national level (including Idaho) is that states have had to borrow from the Federal government to pay for unemployment compensation because their trust funds are depleted.”

New legislation has reduced the number of weeks an individual can be on unemployment from 99 to 53 weeks, which is based on the level of unemployment in Idaho and Boundary County (down to 8% in Idaho and 11.2% in Boundary County in 2012).  A mild winter meant loggers are still working and wholesale tree farms are looking at better year than they experienced in 2011. 

He cited the efforts of a relatively new program, Idaho Career Connect, a web-based program that benefits business and education by providing students and job seekers with information about local businesses and employment opportunities.  The different groups use Idaho Career Connect via the Idaho Career Information System (CIS). You can access Idaho Career Connect at this website:  http://www.idahocis.org/