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How Boise beat the national unemployment rate
by Mitchell Hartman
Marketplace for Friday, February 1, 2013

Dave Checkitts Idaho Hardwood FlooringWith unemployment at 7.9 percent in January, the U.S. economy has a long way to go to return to anything resembling ‘full employment.’ Economists debate what that would be — a base-level structural unemployment rate at which any employable person who wanted to work, could find a job, given time. The consensus settles around 5 percent to 5.5 percent.

The Federal Reserve’s Open Market Committee has set its target rate of ‘healthy’ unemployment at 6.5 percent, at which point it will begin to tighten monetary policy and raise interest rates that are now being maintained at historic lows to encourage hiring, consumer spending and business investment.

But some places in the U.S. have already managed to push local unemployment down to more palatable levels.

Where to get a job? See what unemployment looks like in your state and how it compares to the rest of the country in this interactive map.

Boise, Idaho, is one such place that finds itself sitting in the Fed’s ‘unemployment sweet spot.’

Boise sits in an idyllic valley in Southwestern Idaho, snow-capped mountains at the horizon. Nearly half of Idaho’s population of 1.5 million lives in this remote corner of the state, known as the Treasure Valley, where tributaries like the Boise, Payette and Owyhee feed into the Snake River.

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