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Spokane County’s unemployment rises to 6.7 percent in January, with weather influencing hiring

Unemployment rates rose to 6.7 percent in Spokane County during January, but there’s a caveat.

Much of the increase from December’s 5.7 percent unemployment rate was weather-related, said Doug Tweedy, regional economist for the state Employment Security Department.

Winter weather led to fewer construction jobs, and January is typically a slow month for the leisure, hospitality and recreation industries, he said. Those industries usually start hiring in March.

The January unemployment rates released Tuesday are preliminary, and will be updated in several weeks, Tweedy said. “The first month of every year is hard to estimate.”

Spokane County’s January 2017 unemployment rate was also 6.7 percent.

The unemployment rate for the Spokane metro area was 6.9 percent in January, 5.9 percent in December and 6.9 percent in January 2017. The metro area includes Spokane, Stevens and Pend Oreille counties.

January unemployment rates for other counties were: Whitman, 4.9 percent; Adams, 10 percent; Lincoln, 6.4 percent; Stevens, 9.4 percent, Pend Oreille, 9.5 percent and Ferry, 15.9 percent.