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Posts tagged: State employment

Jobless rate in Washington drops to 7 percent, down slightly from month before

The state AP office provided Wednesday's update on April's Washington state jobless rates.

Washington state’s unemployment rate dropped to 7 percent in April, and the state added an estimated 3,800 jobs last month, according to data from the state Employment Security Department.

The March jobless rate for the state was 7.3 percent.

The state has now regained about 78 percent of the more than 200,000 jobs lost during the recession, according to ESD numbers.

The state “labor market is continuing to improve at a moderate but accelerating rate, somewhat faster than the nation,” Scott Bailey, a labor economist for Employment Security, said in a written statement.

The national unemployment rate for April was 7.5 percent.

Spokane County and other individual county unemployment rates will be reported next week.

Since April 2012, when Washington state’s unemployment rate was 8.4 percent, the state has gained a total of 67,200 jobs.

The latest figures show that economists significantly revised job loss numbers for March from an initial estimate of 5,500 down to 1,600 jobs.

Industries that saw the greatest job gains in April included retail trade, up 3,800 jobs; leisure and hospitality, up 1,600 jobs; and professional and business services, which gained 1,500 jobs.

Job losses were seen in education and health services, which lost 2,500 jobs; construction, down 1,100; and transportation, warehousing and utilities, which lost 500 jobs. Wholesale trade saw a decrease of 300 jobs.

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.

Washington February jobless rate stuck at 7.5 percent for third month in a row

From the state Employment Security Department:

Washington added an estimated 4,000 jobs in February, while the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate remained at 7.5 percent for the third month in a row.

Individual county jobless numbers will be released on Tuesday.

“February was relatively uneventful,” said Anneliese Vance-Sherman, a labor economist for the Employment Security Department. “The job growth was close to the monthly average for the past year, with no big surprises.”

The state has added about 65,000 jobs in the past year, averaging about 5,000 per month. So far, the state has regained about 70 percent of the 205,000 jobs that were lost due to the recession.

Industries with the most estimated job gains in February were education and health services, up 3,000; manufacturing, up 2,900; professional and business services, up 1,200; wholesale trade, up 600; information, up 400 jobs; other services, up 400 jobs; and government, up 400 jobs.

Industries showing the most job losses last month included construction, down 3,600 jobs; leisure and hospitality, down 1,100; and transportation, warehousing and utilities, down 400.jobs.

Either March 2009 or December 2008: which is the best month to compare Spokane’s jobless rate?

Tuesday's state number for Spokane County unemployment led to a story that noted September's 8.2 percent is the lowest for this area since 2009.

Specifically, since March 2009. In that month the rate was 8.6 percent. Since then, the rates all were in the high 8s or 9s.

That March 2009 number was the “seasonally adjusted” jobless rate.

However, if you ask Doug Tweedy, the state labor economist for Spokane, the last time our jobless rate was as low was actually December 2008.

He prefers the seasonally nonadjusted rate for Spokane County's jobless rate.

Which is the better number?  Beats the heck out of me.

The state uses seasonal adjustments to account for built-in swings and shifts in employment due to seasonal trends. Such as resorts hiring in the summer, or schools bringing workers back on in the fall.

But Tweedy said the adjusted number has been impacted by being baselined against a series of disruptive recessionary job numbers, and that affects the reliability of that measure.

He also noted that he's found the adjusted number is sometimes better and sometimes worse in trying to find an accurate unemployment rate.

Anyone care to sound off on this topic?

Washington jobless rate inched up to 8.5 percent in July

Washington gained 5,000 jobs in July, even while the state jobless rate rose from 8.3 percent in June to 8.5 percent in July, the Employment Security Department said Wednesday.

The U.S. unemployment rate for July is 8.3 percent, up slightly from 8.2 percent in June.

Individual county unemployment rates will be released next week by the state.

According to workplace estimates, the number of jobless state residents seeking work increased by about 4,200. At the same time, the number of employed workers fell an estimated 14,000.

Overall, this amounted to a decrease of 9,800 people in the labor force.

Washington’s job figures showed positive growth from one year ago; July 2011’s jobless rate was 9.3 percent. And since one year ago, Washington has gained roughly 57,000 jobs, based on data compiled by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Spokane County jobless rate increases, due in part to college grads

Spokane County's unemployment rate for May grew to 9.1 percent, up from 8.7 percent in April, the state reported on Tuesday.

The sad news: the May jobless rate this year is exactly the same as one year earlier, 9.1 percent.

Statewide, Washington's jobless rate ticked up to 8.3 percent in May, compared to 8.2 percent in April.

Some good news: Spokane's jobs grew by  2,900 from April 2012-May 2012, the state Employment Security Department reported. That's the nonadjusted number for Spokane. If one were to use the seasonally adjusted employment number, Spokane gained only 1,600 jobs.

To look at the numbers directly, go here.

Sectors seeing upticks: construction, manufacturing and professional-scientific-technical.

Doug Tweedy, the Spokane area labor economist, said the job growth number is based on employer surveys. The jobless number is based on completely different surveys collected from Spokane area households.

Between the two, Tweedy said the employment numbers (which exclude farm jobs and sole proprietorships) is a more accurate number for the Spokane area job market.

The jobless increase reflects the influx of recent college grads getting into the job growth, Tweedy said.

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