The unemployment rate in Spokane County climbed for the fourth consecutive month in February, to 10.6 percent.
Statistics released Thursday by the Washington Employment Security Department show a modest increase in total employment, to 213,210, up 460 from 212,750 in January.
But the work force grew faster, up 1,230 to 238,430 in February.
There were 25,220 people looking for work.
The unemployment rate in Spokane County has increased steadily since October, when the rate was 8.6 percent. The county’s January unemployment rate was 10.3 percent.
Doug Tweedy, the state’s regional labor economist in Spokane, said February is typically the peak month for unemployment because of post-holiday retail sector layoffs, and the pre-spring lull in outdoor employment.
The unemployment rate last February was 11.7 percent.
Since then, Tweedy said, private employers have added 1,000 jobs and government agencies have laid off 230, mostly in administration.
February was also the first time after eight months that construction employment did not decline. The county lost 3,500 construction jobs in 2009 and 2010, Tweedy said.
The department released statewide unemployment numbers earlier this month. The February rate was 9.8 percent.
All figures are unadjusted for seasonal swings in employment.