Freak rain storms in June wiped out much of Washington’s cherry crop and eroded job growth.
Unemployment normally drops in the summer months, but the state’s jobless rate was 5.8 percent in June, the same as May.
Non-farm employment jumped 22,300 workers during the month, which kept the rate from climbing, the Department of Employment Security said Tuesday.
“The usual pattern would have been a slight downturn” in June unemployment, Employment Security Commissioner Vernon Stoner said in a prepared statement. “But heavy rain wiped out large portions of the state’s cherry crop, affecting hundreds of seasonal farm workers.”
Spokane County unemployment was 5 percent, rising slightly from 4.9 percent in May. The unemployment rate for June 1994 was 4.8 percent.
As reported earlier, the June unemployment rate in Kootenai County was 6.4 percent; Idaho’s statewide rate was 4.8 percent.
Washington’s seasonally adjusted jobless rate in June was 6.2 percent, compared with the national average of 5.6 percent. Seasonally adjusted rates were not available for individual counties.
Of the state’s 2.83 million workers, 163,300 had no job in June. In Spokane County, 9,800 people were unemployed.
The rise in Spokane’s unemployment rate paralleled a drop in the number of workers for the month: 197,100 in June, compared with 199,100 in May.
Spokane labor market analyst Fred Walsh said the rise in joblessness reflected summer vacation for private school educators, who typically aren’t included in the June labor force count.
Spokane construction and mining employment was up 400 people from May, but still 200 behind June 1994. Retail jobs, however, were up 1,200 from a year ago to 35,000.
, DataTimes ILLUSTRATION: Graphic: County-by-county monthly unemployment rates