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Spokane County jobless rate ticks up

Wed., Aug. 21, 2013, midnight

School break largely to blame for July numbers in county

Spokane County’s jobless rate rose back above 8 percent in July.

Economists said the two-tenths of a percent rise from June to July is, in large part, because of area teachers and school staff not working during the summer.

The 8.1 percent rate has fallen, however, when compared to July 2012, when Spokane’s unemployment rate was 8.6 percent, said state labor economist Doug Tweedy.

In Washington, the jobless rate in July was 6.8 percent, down from 7 percent in June.

Excluding education jobs, Spokane’s private nonfarm payroll jobs grew by 1,900 from June to July, Tweedy said.

Over the past 12 months, the total number of Spokane County nonfarm jobs grew by 5,400, according to Washington’s Employment Security Department. That number is not seasonally adjusted.

Spokane’s two strongest sectors in July were construction, and leisure and hospitality. Both gained 800 jobs; health care added 200, while transportation and warehousing gained 100 jobs.

The sector with the largest loss in July was government – with 4,100 fewer jobs than in June.

Comparing July 2012 to July 2013, Spokane County has lost 700 government jobs. Of those, 500 were federal jobs and 200 were state jobs, according to Tweedy.

The year-over-year comparison shows the true government job loss and excludes summer layoffs for those in education, he added.

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