Office Hours

FRIDAY, OCT. 21, 2011, 1:11 P.M.

State will lay off 223 Employment Security, WorkSource workers in January

It's no surprise to hear that the state budget mess is continuing to take a toll.

The surprise was the announcement of how many Employment Security Department workers will be laid off in January: 223, and maybe more.

All told, about 60 or so of the layoffs will occur in Eastern Washington.

The state counts those ESD workers as its own employees. But in large part, the layoffs are due to federal budget woes, said communications director Sheryl Hutchison. About 85 percent of the salaries of ESD workers is provided to Washington via Washington, D.C.

The cuts will involve 13 layoffs at the Spokane WorkSource office, plus two layoffs at the ESD district tax office (which addresses unemployment insurance tax issues, primarily).

Those two offices, as of today, have 78 and 11 workers, respectively.

ESD has just under 2,400 workers statewide. The primary mission is to identify programs to offset unemployment, to track job gains and to find resources for businesses and employers.

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