October 19, 2005 in Business

County jobless rate hits five-year low

By The Spokesman-Review

By the numbers

Jobless rates

These are the preliminary September unemployment percentages for selected Washington counties.

Spokane …5.1

Adams …4.4

Asotin …5.8

Benton …5.2

Clark …6.3

Columbia …7.0

Douglas …4.0

Ferry …6.8

Franklin …5.2

Garfield …4.3

Grant …5.1

King …4.8

Lincoln …5.1

Okanogan …5.0

Pend Oreille …6.3

Pierce …5.5

Snohomish …5.0

Stevens …6.2

Walla Walla …4.7

Whitman …3.6

State high – Columbia …7.0

State low – San Juan …3.3

Spokane County’s September 2005 unemployment rate of 5.1 percent is the lowest monthly number in five years, state labor economists said Tuesday.

The last time Spokane County reached 5.1 percent unemployment was August 2000, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

In August of this year, Spokane’s revised jobless rate was 5.8 percent. The next-lowest jobless rate for Spokane this year was 5.3 percent, measured in May.

Statewide, Washington’s unemployment rate in September measured 5.1 percent also. It was 5.5 percent in August, labor economists reported. Both the Spokane and the state rates are not seasonally adjusted.

The national unemployment rate in September was 4.8 percent, unadjusted. It was 5.1 percent in August 2005.

September’s numbers showed a net gain of about 2,500 labor force jobs in Spokane, compared with August of this year. But it’s not clear how many of those are newly created jobs. A large number of workers and school employees return in September following summer vacations.

The private-sector job category showing the largest job gain in September was education and health services. That group showed a net gain of 300 Spokane jobs compared with August 2005, state data showed.

Measured against one year ago, however, Spokane has added 6,500 labor force jobs, according to the state data released Tuesday. In September 2004, Spokane had 208,900 workers. One year later the number had grown to 215,400, the reports say.

Statewide, the general uplift of Washington’s economy has lowered the number of unemployed state residents by 3,700 since September 2004, according to a press release from the state Department of Employment Security. As of September 2005, Washington had 168,300 unemployed workers, the release said.

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