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Jobless rate up in county; steady in state

Wed., Dec. 15, 2010, midnight

Spokane County’s unemployment rate rose to 8.4 percent in November despite an increase in jobs.

New jobs in health care and hospitality were augmented by earlier than usual winter recreation hires, said state Employment Security Department labor analyst Doug Tweedy.

The 3,600 jobs added since October brought the Spokane total to 224,590, up slightly more than 4,000 from a year ago.

But the labor force increased by almost 5,000, to 245,210, between October and November, Tweedy said.

“More people are looking for work,” he said, notably elderly and younger workers trying to boost household income.

Despite the job increases, the 8.4 percent rate equaled that for November 2009, and climbed from October’s 8.1 percent.

The statewide, seasonally adjusted unemployment rate – Spokane’s is not adjusted – remained at 9.2 percent after the October rate was adjusted upward. Only 100 jobs were added as growth in sectors like education, health services, and professional and business services was only enough to offset another 2,100 cuts in construction.

“We’re really experiencing the most tepid and uneventful recovery we’re experienced since World War II,” said Greg Weeks, department director of labor market information.

Out of a labor force of 3.5 million, 325,700 were unemployed.

The national unemployment rate for November was 9.8 percent.

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