Spokane County’s July unemployment rate remained unchanged at 8.6 percent, the Employment Security Department said Tuesday. That’s also the exact rate from 12 months ago, said Washington regional labor economist Doug Tweedy.
Washington’s jobless rate fell from 9 percent in June to 8.9 percent in July.
The state said Spokane County’s unemployment stood at 19,840 people in July, about 600 fewer than in June. The county’s total workforce fell by about 5,000 job holders, leaving the jobless rate essentially the same.
Tweedy said those 5,000 jobs were seasonal workers for school districts who shut down in the summer. Those jobs come back gradually in August and September, he said.
He found some positives in the local numbers: Spokane gained 500 private sector jobs in July. Those came in manufacturing, construction and health care, Tweedy said.
That also gave Spokane County five consecutive months of private sector growth. Even though the job growth is small in that period, that’s a positive trend, he said. Washington’s private sector picked up 3,100 jobs in July.
Additionally July saw roughly 2,800 Spokane County initial jobless claims. That’s the lowest initial-claim total since September 2008, Tweedy said.