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Spokane County jobless rate rises in November

MONDAY, DEC. 23, 2013, 12:16 P.M.

Spokane County’s jobless rate edged up to 7.0 percent in November, an increase of three-tenths of a percent from the month before, the state Employment Security Department said.

Washington state’s November jobless rate is 6.5 percent, unchanged from the month before.

The U.S. average jobless rate in November is 7 percent.

Some of that slump comes from seasonal shifts, including declines in construction, said Doug Tweedy, the labor economist for Spokane.

Based on business surveys of jobs, Spokane County lost 800 positions during November, the state reported.

Construction accounted for 500 jobs lost during the month, he added.

Leisure and hospitality —which includes bars and restaurants, amusement parks and golf courses — lost 700 jobs in November, Tweedy said.

He said that hospitality-leisure decline is due to seasonal shifts but may also reflect nontraditional hiring practices in that sector this fall.

One possible theory was earlier-than-usual hiring by some hospitality companies in September and October, followed by layoffs and job cuts in November as business declined, Tweedy said.

Spokane sectors that gained jobs in November were retail, up 800 jobs; education, up 200 jobs; and health care, up 400 jobs.

“The education jobs were primarily in higher education,” Tweedy said.

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