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Latest from The Spokesman-Review

Kraft, Pats surrender

A GRIP ON SPORTS • There is sort of a “Game of Thrones” battle going on in the NFL these days, though Robert Kraft yesterday acted more like Tyrion Lannister than Jamie. Read on.

The M’s need to answer the call with men on base

A GRIP ON SPORTS • There is a not-so-exclusive club in America right now. It’s a club populated only by people who have received scam phone calls purporting to be from the IRS. I’ve been inducted, I don’t know, a thousand times? Read on.

Summer is upon us in a few ways

A GRIP ON SPORTS • Welcome to summer, albeit a couple weeks early. Sunshine, highs in the 80s and a dearth of stories to pass along. Read on.

Gonzaga game means everything for BYU

A GRIP ON SPORTS

There's a showdown tonight in the West Coast Conference. It means everything to one team. And Gonzaga is involved as well. Read on.

A little something special this morning

A GRIP ON SPORTS

On the night of the biggest football game in the Pac-12 this season, we are going to talk … basketball? Yep, we're talking hoops. Read on.

Jobless rate in Washington drops to 7 percent, down slightly from month before

The state AP office provided Wednesday's update on April's Washington state jobless rates.

Washington state’s unemployment rate dropped to 7 percent in April, and the state added an estimated 3,800 jobs last month, according to data from the state Employment Security Department.

The March jobless rate for the state was 7.3 percent.

The state has now regained about 78 percent of the more than 200,000 jobs lost during the recession, according to ESD numbers.

The state “labor market is continuing to improve at a moderate but accelerating rate, somewhat faster than the nation,” Scott Bailey, a labor economist for Employment Security, said in a written statement.

The national unemployment rate for April was 7.5 percent.

Spokane County and other individual county unemployment rates will be reported next week.

Since April 2012, when Washington state’s unemployment rate was 8.4 percent, the state has gained a total of 67,200 jobs.

The latest figures show that economists significantly revised job loss numbers for March from an initial estimate of 5,500 down to 1,600 jobs.

Industries that saw the greatest job gains in April included retail trade, up 3,800 jobs; leisure and hospitality, up 1,600 jobs; and professional and business services, which gained 1,500 jobs.

Job losses were seen in education and health services, which lost 2,500 jobs; construction, down 1,100; and transportation, warehousing and utilities, which lost 500 jobs. Wholesale trade saw a decrease of 300 jobs.

Did Spokane lose 500 higher ed jobs during March? Well, we intend to find out

For not the first time, the state unemployment report for Spokane left us dealing with mysteries.

The story, appearing Wednesday, reported March's county unemployment rate went down from 9.8 percent to 9.1 percent.

But, using different data from a different survey, the state also said Spokane lost 1,100 jobs. That will happen sometimes, when the two data sets move in different directions.

But the second bigger mystery involves a question about 500 positions lost in Spokane during March among the three higher ed institutions, WSU, EWU and the Community Colleges of Spokane.

We sent off a note to the WSU Spokane folks, asking if they were part of the 500 job decline.

We did get an answer, thanks to solid efforts by former newsman Doug Nadvornick.

Doug tracked down the numbers and came up with the basic response, that the state's tracking system found that WSU had lost eight "covered" positions and 23 "non-covered" positions. Essentially, around 31 jobs were eliminated or lost at WSU.

About a handful of those would have been from the transfer of the Interdisciplinary Design Program moving from Spokane to Pullman.

Which leaves the implication that the other 470 lost positions have to be from CCS and from EWU.

And that's going to be another story. Stay tuned. We'll see how this turns out.

Employment Security Department Regional Labor Economist Doug Tweedy said in the story that these numbers are preliminary, and that revised additional data in the next four weeks should clarify the picture.

We hope so, and we'll report what we get.

Did you know UCLA is in town?

A GRIP ON SPORTS

The UCLA Bruins are in the Inland Northwest tonight to face Washington State. Did they fly in on a B-2? Their arrival was so quiet it hardly even registered on our radar. Read on.

Just your typical day

A GRIP ON SPORTS

Anything happen around here yesterday? I was a bit busy and didn't have time to check. What, you're kidding? Gonzaga is No. 1 in the nation? In what, ROTC rankings? Basketball? Men's basketball? You have to be kidding. Read on.

Paul Simon had it right

A GRIP ON SPORTS

Tonight there will be tears. Tears of sorrow. Tears of joy. Count on it. Read on.

It’s not a dry day

A GRIP ON SPORTS

Remember that old ditty you used to sing as a kid about the rain? Something about it staying away and coming again another day? Well, if we could remember all the words we would be singing it today, as we have to head out to the golf course to catch up with the 4A boys golf – and we don't want to get wet. Read on.

East Valley to close middle school, lay off teachers

After a special meeting last Friday to declare a fiscal emergency, the East Valley School board decided to lay off up to 25 teachers, close Mountain View Middle School next year and send the Skyview Elementary students to Otis Orchards Elementary. Reporter Lisa Leinberger has an overview of the coming changes and a schedule of upcoming community meetings for discussions on how to implement all the changes. Read her story here and watch for a more in depth story later in the week.