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State Jobless Rate Edges Up But June Unemployment Was The Lowest Since 1990

Washington’s unemployment rate inched up one tenth of a percentage point in June to 4.6 percent. That’s the lowest rate for the month since 1990, according to Carver Gayton, the state’s employment security commissioner.

The state’s unemployment rate was 6.3 percent in June 1996.

“We remain 1.5 percentage points below a year ago,” Gayton said Tuesday. “Our strong regional economy, manufacturing sector and seasonal hiring continues to keep unemployment low.”

Seasonally adjusted, Washington’s unemployment rate was flat at 4.8 percent, down nearly a full percentage point from January and two-tenths of a point below the 5.0 percent national average.

Spokane’s unemployment rate for June was 4.3 percent. That’s up slightly from May’s adjusted 4.2 percent, but down significantly from June 1996 when the rate was 5.4 percent.

During June, in a work force of 201,900, 192,100 people were employed in the Spokane economy, and 8,600 were not.

Statewide, nonfarm employment jumped by 32,200 - substantially more than a year ago. Manufacturing payrolls climbed by 4,400, the biggest boost for the year to date, with seasonal gains in food processing (+300), forest products (+900), and fabricated metals (+300) adding to strong growth in machinery and electronics (+400) and scientific and medical instruments (+200). Jobs in aircraft and parts were up 1,800, bringing the total industry count to 103,100 in June.

Construction added 4,700, while wholesale and retail trade expanded by 10,300 with half the increase in special trades (+2,400). Services employment moved up 6,300, including gains in business services.

“Over the year, manufacturing employment was up 25,200 in June,” said Dennis Fusco, chief economist for ESD. “It was the biggest 12-month gain in nine years.”

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

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