November 20, 1996 in Nation/World

State Jobless Rate Climbs To 5.4% Strong Economy Helps To Offset Normal Seasonal Decline In Jobs

From Staff And Wire Reports

Unemployment last month creeped upward to 5.4 percent in Washington, but remained half a percentage point below a year ago, Employment Security Commissioner Gary Moore said Tuesday.

“We typically see an increase as wetter weather sets in,” Moore said. “However, the amount of the hike was about half the usual runup for October, dropping the seasonally adjusted rate from 6.0 to 5.8 percent - just six-tenths of a percentage point above the national rate.”

Spokane’s jobless rate ticked to 4.8 percent from 4.4 percent in September. Last October, the rate was 4.9 percent.

Total non-farm employment was 183,200, a bare .3 percent increase over year-ago levels.

Fred Walsh, regional labor analyst for Employment Security, said there was little significant change in any segment of the work force. But construction, he noted, has held up well considering conditions in the housing market.

Statewide, non-farm wage and salary employment increased by 4,000 workers - a dramatic turnabout after almost a decade of declines from September to October, according to Dennis Fusco, chief economist for the department.

“A strengthening economy has brought gains in non-seasonal jobs that outnumber the seasonal declines,” he said. Hiring by Boeing Co. helped push the state’s manufacturing payroll up 15,000 compared with a year ago, the report said.

, DataTimes ILLUSTRATION: Graphic: County-by-county monthly unemployment rates

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