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Office Hours

Did Spokane lose 500 higher ed jobs during March? Well, we intend to find out

For not the first time, the state unemployment report for Spokane left us dealing with mysteries.

The story, appearing Wednesday, reported March's county unemployment rate went down from 9.8 percent to 9.1 percent.

But, using different data from a different survey, the state also said Spokane lost 1,100 jobs. That will happen sometimes, when the two data sets move in different directions.

But the second bigger mystery involves a question about 500 positions lost in Spokane during March among the three higher ed institutions, WSU, EWU and the Community Colleges of Spokane.

We sent off a note to the WSU Spokane folks, asking if they were part of the 500 job decline.

We did get an answer, thanks to solid efforts by former newsman Doug Nadvornick.

Doug tracked down the numbers and came up with the basic response, that the state's tracking system found that WSU had lost eight “covered” positions and 23 “non-covered” positions. Essentially, around 31 jobs were eliminated or lost at WSU.

About a handful of those would have been from the transfer of the Interdisciplinary Design Program moving from Spokane to Pullman.

Which leaves the implication that the other 470 lost positions have to be from CCS and from EWU.

And that's going to be another story. Stay tuned. We'll see how this turns out.

Employment Security Department Regional Labor Economist Doug Tweedy said in the story that these numbers are preliminary, and that revised additional data in the next four weeks should clarify the picture.

We hope so, and we'll report what we get.


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

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John Stucke John Stucke is a deputy city editor who helps build local news coverage and writes about health care, bankruptcy and rural affairs.

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