April sees boost in employment


Private employers in Spokane County hired 2,100 workers in April, a gain only slightly offset by a cutback in government jobs.

The new hires, the Washington Employment Security Department said Tuesday, rolled the county unemployment rate back to 9.1 percent from 10.3 percent in March, and 9.7 percent in April 2010.

Total employment climbed to 215,120 from 213,170 in March. The total in April 2010 was 216,440.

Since then, the labor force has contracted by almost 3,000 people, to 236,660.

ESD Regional Labor Economist Doug Tweedy said workers have become more mobile as they look for work anywhere employers are hiring.

He said construction was the big gainer in April, with 900 hires. But construction employment remains 3,000 below the peak of a few years ago, he noted.

Tweedy said manufacturers added 300 workers, health services 300, and professional, scientific and technical businesses 200.

Federal, state and local governments laid off more than 100, he said, adding that it was the only sector to decline. 

Tweedy said the April results suggest average unemployment for the rest of 2011 will remain around 9 percent, after averaging 10.4 percent for the first quarter.

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