Custer County’s unemployment rate creeped up in July to 4.4 percent, from 4.3 percent in June and up from 3.9 percent in July 2018, according to the latest unemployment report from the Idaho Department of Labor.

Custer County’s jobless rate remains higher than neighboring Butte County, but lower than another neighbor, Lemhi County. Butte County’s July rate stood at 2.8 percent, down from 3 percent in June and also down from 3 percent in July 2018. The report shows Lemhi County had a July rate of 4.7 percent, up from 4.6 percent in June and 4.6 percent recorded in July a year ago.

The 4.4 percent jobless rate meant 94 Custer County residents were unemployed in July, according to the report, while 2,045 people had jobs. In June, 92 people were listed as unemployed in the county.

Idaho’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate edged up to 2.9 percent in July, from 2.8 percent in June, the Labor Department reported. July marked the 20th consecutive month for the state’s jobless rate to be at or below 3 percent.

The highest level of unemployment in July was recorded in Clearwater County, 7.5 percent. Other counties with high levels of unemployment in June were Adams at 6.3 percent, Shoshone at 6 percent and Benewah and Lewis, both at 5.1 percent.

On the other end of the scale, the lowest jobless rate in Idaho in July was reported in Madison County — 2 percent. Oneida reported a jobless rate of 2.2 percent in June. Three counties came in at 2.4 percent in July — Camas, Jefferson and Twin Falls.

The state’s labor force participation rate remained at 64 percent in July, the same as the month before. That’s a measure of the percentage of people 16 and older who are working or looking for work.

Idaho’s labor force increased in July from the year before, the report shows. The labor force grew by 2.1 percent to 17,996. Total employment was up by 16,814 people, or 2 percent, and there were 1,182 more unemployed people.

The number of seasonally adjusted non-farm jobs grew by 20,600 or 2.8 percent in July, compared to July 2018. Idaho nonfarm jobs increased by 4,100 from June to July this year, for a July total of 760,600. That 0.5 of a percent growth was the second-fastest month-to-month growth rate in the nation, the Labor Department reported.

Unemployment insurance benefit payments increased by 13.6 percent in July, to a weekly average of $1,192,500 this year, up from $1,049,300 a year ago. The number of claimants increased by 6.4 percent to 3,898 from a weekly average of 3,664 a year ago, according to the report.

Across the country, the seasonally adjusted national unemployment rate for July stood at 3.7 percent, compared to 3.9 percent in July 2018.