Spokane unemployment rate jumps to 9.3 percent
Spokane County’s jobless rated climbed in December, hitting 9.3 percent, compared with 8.5 percent the month before, state labor analysts said today.
Two sectors accounted for the increased unemployment: retail and construction, said Doug Tweedy, regional labor economist with the Employment Security Department.
In December 2008, the jobless rate in Spokane was 7.3 percent.
Construction is typically off in December, Tweedy said. This past month, construction jobs declined in Spokane by 800.
Retail, normally an uptick in the local job picture at the end of the year, was basically flat this past December, Tweedy said. In December 2008 Spokane had 26,900 retail jobs.
But this past December, the number was 1,200 less than the year before, he added.
“The area did not have as many retail jobs” this year due to employers being wary of adding jobs in a sagging economy, he said.
Statewide, Washington’s jobless rate also rose, to 9.5 percent from November’s 9.0 percent. That increase reflected the loss of about 3,800 jobs statewide, the ESD reported.
The state’s largest losses were in manufacturing and services. Almost 80 percent (1,500) of all construction losses came from the specialty trade industry.
Services, across the state, lost 1,200 jobs from the month before.
Looking ahead, Tweedy is guardedly hopeful. “We’re seeing some gains in sub-sectors of the main four categories (manufacturing, construction, retail and financial) that lost the most jobs in the downturn.”
In manufacturing, he said chemical manufacturing and metal fabrication have had minor job gains in the last month.