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Posts tagged: Spokane unemployment rate

State jobless rate steady at 6.4 percent; Spokane at 7.9 percent

Washington state’s unemployment rate stayed stuck at 6.4 percent in February, state officials reported Wednesday.

The Employment Security Department also said Spokane’s jobless rate in January pushed up to 7.9 percent, a half percent higher than December.

Because the department goes through a revision of all 2013 data, it doesn’t release the January county and metro rates until mid-March.

Next week the department will release county and metro rates for February, said area Labor Economist Doug Tweedy.

The steady January statewide unemployment rate, combined with growth in payroll numbers, suggests Washington’s economy remains in growth mode, the employment security department said in a release. The state’s labor force of nearly 3.5 million rose by about 10,000 people over the past month, economists said.

In Spokane, Tweedy said the good news is seeing the year-over-year growth. The jobless rate in January 2013 was 9.7 percent, he said.

Spokane’s January job slippage was expected as part of seasonal job losses, he added, as stores shed retail workers and the construction sector slowed down.

From January 2013 to January 2014, Tweedy noted that five sectors showed notable growth: health care added 700 jobs; retail trade and private education each gained 600; financial services and construction gained 500.

The one loser in the past year: leisure and hospitality, down 400 jobs, Tweedy said

The crummy spring weather and the impact on Spokane’s jobless rate

The state of Washington does its jobless rate announcements differently. It announced the statewide jobless rate of 9.2 percent last week.

Then, today, the state released the metro and county numbers. 

Spokane's rate inched up slightly this March, to 10.5 percent.

The interesting data tidbit is the effect on jobs of the crummy spring weather, according to regional labor economist Doug Tweedy.

A year ago the county had a higher jobless rate (11 percent) but it also had  500 more people working than we had in March 2011, state labor data show.

Tweedy said that comes from seasonal impacts and crummy spring weather. “The weather this past March has slowed outdoor jobs” including construction, landscaping and other areas of the job market, he said.

It's a good thing we don't have tons of jobs reliant on golf courses, swimming pools, splashdown parks and bike rentals. The impact on those areas would have been harsh this year.

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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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