(AP) - The Idaho Department of Labor says unemployment insurance benefit payments dropped 33 percent from 2010 to 2011. The drop is a sign that the state's economy is leveling off after the recession.

The state agency says unemployment payments were $418 million in 2011. That's compared to $624 million in 2010 and a peak of $643 million in 2009. In 2006, before the recession, the total payout for the year was $104 million. More than 82,000 Idaho workers received regular state benefits in 2011, while 43,000 got federally financed extended benefits. That compared to 96,000 receiving regular benefits in 2010 while 54,000 got federal extended benefits. Idaho's unemployment rate in November was 8.5 percent.