Spokane County’s unemployment rate jumped to 10.5 percent in January as seasonal layoffs took their toll, the Washington Employment Security Department reported Tuesday.
The December rate was 9.1 percent; the January rate a year ago was 11.5 percent.
Department regional labor economist Doug Tweedy said job losses always increase in January and February, the trough between Christmas retail hiring and the seasonal uptick in construction and other outside work.
“As we get into spring, jobs will start coming back,” he said.
Government employment declined by 100 compared with January 2010, Tweedy said, but private employers added 600 workers in professional and technical services, and 100 each in manufacturing and health care.
The county work force shrank by almost 4,000 between December and January as those who took temporary retailing jobs either returned to outlying counties or stopped looking for work, Tweedy said.
The unemployment rates in all contiguous counties increased; to 14 percent in Pend Oreille County, 13.7 percent in Stevens County, 10.3 percent in Lincoln County, and 6.3 percent in Whitman County.
Statewide, unemployment fell to 9.1 percent in January, but that number is seasonally adjusted. Total employment declined.