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Where the Jobs are

A special report on employment in the Inland Northwest.

 (The Spokesman-Review)

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.
Erin Arai, a 2009 Gonzaga University graduate, works at the Spokane-based Web company The Purple Turtle, where she manages social-networking promotions for clients. It’s a new job produced by the rise of social networks. Arai was able to parlay an internship with the company into a full-time job. (JESSE TINSLEY / The Spokesman-Review)

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.
Dealer Rebecca Williams offers the cards to a player for a cut before reloading the “shoe” and dealing  at the blackjack tables on May 28 at Northern Quest Casino. The casino complex is among the fastest-growing businesses in the area. (Photos by JESSE TINSLEY / The Spokesman-Review)

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.

Nick Tibbetts edits video at ILF Media in Spokane on May 20. Jobs like Tibbetts’ are projected to grow in Spokane. (Photos by JESSE TINSLEY / The Spokesman-Review)

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.
Nurse Terry Clark talks with patient Tamara Rochlin on Tuesday at the Cancer Center at Kootenai Medical Center. (KATHY PLONKA / The Spokesman-Review)

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.
Jamere Radford, of North Wind Construction, washes trucks May 21 at the hazardous waste repository in Kellogg. The effort to clean up the 21-square-mile Bunker Hill Superfund site, contaminated by lead from Silver Valley mining, is among projects in the Inland Northwest to benefit from federal stimulus money. (Photos by Kathy Plonka / The Spokesman-Review)

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.