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Thu., July 15, 2010, 10:35 a.m.

Employment picture brightens

The unemployment rate in Spokane County dropped more than half a point in June, and statewide joblessness is back down to where it stood a year ago, state officials said today.

Unemployment last month fell to 8.5 percent locally, down from 9.1 percent in May and below the rate of 8.9 percent in June 2009.

Private-sector payrolls continued to grow in June, reducing Washington’s unemployment rate to 8.9 percent – the lowest rate since April 2009.

Statewide the economy picked up 4,500 private-sector jobs but registered a net loss of 3,500 jobs for the month. That’s due to 8,000 government jobs being eliminated, about half of which were federal census jobs.

So far this year, Washington has added more than 20,000 private-sector jobs.

“It’s very encouraging to see private-sector hiring starting to pick up,” said Employment Security Commissioner Karen Lee.

Industries that added jobs in June were education and health services, up 1,300; construction up 1,000; retail trade, up 900; professional and business services, up 700; leisure and hospitality, up 700; other services, up 400; information, up 300; and manufacturing, up 100.

Jobs were lost in government, down 8,000; financial activities, down 500; wholesale trade, down 300; and transportation, warehousing and utilities, down 100.

Year over year, Washington had 17,000 fewer jobs last month than in June 2009, a 0.6 percent decrease.

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Scott Maben
Scott Maben joined The Spokesman-Review in 2006. He currently is the Business Editor.

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