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Joblessness creeps up in December

Washington added an estimated 2,100 jobs in December, with the manufacturing and retail sectors leading hiring. Still, the estimated unemployment rate increased slightly from 9.2 percent to 9.3 percent, the state reported this morning.

Job numbers and the unemployment rate are derived from separate surveys. Due to margins of error, the surveys sometimes generate conflicting results.

In Spokane County, the unemployment rate was 9.1 percent in December. That's up from a rate of 8.6 percent in November, and down slightly from 9.3 percent a year ago. Unemployed workers in the county totaled 21,990 last month, up from 21,030 a month earlier, the state said.

Statewide, industries that added jobs last month included manufacturing, up 1,400; retail trade, up 1,300; professional and business services, up 800; education and health services, up 400; transportation, warehousing and utilities, up 300; wholesale trade, up 200; and leisure and hospitality, up 200.

Jobs were lost in financial activities, down 900; construction, down 900; mining and logging, down 200; other services, down 200; government, down 200; and information, down 100.

An estimated 324,270 people (not seasonally adjusted) in Washington were unemployed and looking for work, and 245,225 people received unemployment benefits from the state in December.

For all of 2010, Washington added 11,800 private-sector jobs. Factoring in a substantial loss of government jobs, there was an estimated net gain of 8,000 jobs during the past 12 months.

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The Spokesman-Review business team follows economic development in Spokane and the Inland Northwest.

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Alison Boggs (@alisonboggs) Online Producer Alison Boggs posts and manages content on and its social networking accounts.

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Scott Maben Scott Maben is a Deputy City Editor who covers North Idaho news and higher education.

Addy Hatch is the city editor, and formerly was business editor.

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