Spokane County employers added 820 jobs in June, with new private-sector hires more than offsetting the loss of 200 government jobs, according to the Washington Employment Security Department.
The result was an unemployment rate of 8.5 percent, compared with 9.1 percent in May, and 8.9 percent in June 2009. Those numbers are not adjusted for seasonal variations.
Doug Tweedy, the department’s labor economist for Spokane, said a decrease in the total number of workers contributed to the improved unemployment rate. Many who had come to Spokane when jobs in rural areas were scarce have returned home, he said.
Government was the only sector with significant job losses, he said. Construction – up 400 – and manufacturing, retail, and health care, all up 200, were the biggest gainers during the month.
“It’s very encouraging that private-sector employment is up,” Tweedy said. “It’s just a modest gain, but you can certainly see we’ve turned the corner on job losses.”
WorkSource in Spokane, he noted, had 1,100 jobs posted in June compared with 727 a year ago.
Washington’s private employers added 4,500 jobs in June. Government cut 8,000, about one-half of them temporary U.S. Census Bureau positions.
The state’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate fell to 8.9 percent from 9.2 percent in May and 9.1 percent in June 2009 because of a slight reduction in the labor force. Unadjusted, the statewide unemployment rate was 8.7 percent.
The national rate, seasonally adjusted, was 9.5 percent.
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