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Spokane area jobs dip

Metal and chemical making jobs rise

Spokane County’s jobless rate climbed in December, hitting 9.3 percent, compared with 8.5 percent the month before, state labor analysts said Wednesday.

Retail and construction accounted for most of that drop in jobs, said Doug Tweedy, regional labor economist with the Employment Security Department.

One year earlier, in December 2008, Spokane’s jobless rate was 7.3 percent.

Construction is typically off in December, Tweedy said. This past month, construction jobs in Spokane fell by 800.

Retail, normally an uptick in Spokane’s job picture in the fourth quarter, was basically flat this past December, Tweedy said. In December 2008 Spokane had 26,900 retail jobs, the same as in November 2009.

Retail in Spokane County lost 1,200 jobs from December 2008 to 2009, said Tweedy.

Statewide, Washington’s jobless rate rose to 9.5 percent from 9 percent. The state’s largest losses were in manufacturing and services. Almost 80 percent 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 gains in sub-sectors of the four categories (manufacturing, construction, retail and financial) that lost the most jobs in the downturn.”

For example, chemical manufacturing and metal fabrication have had minor job gains in the last month.