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Where the Jobs are

A special report on employment in the Inland Northwest.

Visualizing Spokane’s jobs outlook

Click on the images on this page to explore interactive graphs showing data from the Washington State Employment Security Department's 2009 jobs outlook for the Spokane area.

Young workers face skilled rivals

College graduates such as Nathan Coltrane are looking to land a good job right smack in the middle of one of the toughest economies of the past three decades. Coltrane, 23, is about to earn a photography degree from Eastern Washington University. His goal is to land a production job with a Pacific Northwest-based video or media company.

Industries keep eye on the future

Go West, young person. It worked for those who heeded the advice of 19th-century newspaperman Horace Greeley, and it just might work for today’s job seekers, who on the West Plains will find companies hiring workers or likely to do so as the region and nation emerge from recession.

Small sectors, big opportunity

When people talk about the good news in the local job market, they invariably return to two kinds of work: health care and education. Those two pillars of the jobs scene are considered among the most resistant to recessions, and they make up a big part of overall employment in the Inland Northwest.

Prospects still bright for nurses

Time is on your side. Registered nurses can take those words to the bank, say regional health care employers. Although jobs are fewer this year and some registered nurses in Spokane are being laid off as part of broad hospital reorganizations, the stubborn recession won’t be able to slow health care spending much longer.

Federal infusion is boon for laborers

In North Idaho’s recession-plagued Silver Valley, there’ll be an extra 70 high-paying seasonal jobs this summer removing and replacing lead-contaminated soil as part of the Bunker Hill cleanup, thanks to the federal economic stimulus. “They’re good jobs,” said Mark Stromberg, Coeur d’Alene Basin project manager for the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality. They pay federal prevailing wages – “considerably higher than what normally would be paid in the Silver Valley.”

Stimulus translates to contracts, grants

New water lines in Republic. A large sewage project in Airway Heights. Millions for schools, for crime-victim advocates, and to expand broadband access into rural areas. Hundreds of miles of new or overhauled paths, bridges and roads. And that’s just the start.