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How many people in Spokane County work in retirement centers and nursing homes?

Spokane County got itself closer to the 6.0 percent unemployment rate, based on preliminary April numbers released Tuesday by the state.

Today's SR  story tried to cover the bases.

Here's one piece of data not listed in that story. Just measuring the nursing and retirement services subgroup for Spokane, the change from first quarter employment 2013 to first quarter 2014 went this way:  6,649 to 6,966.

Those are somewhat preliminary numbers, said Doug Tweedy of Employment Security.

But that's a telling statistic.  As the population ages, we'll be seeing a continuing growth in that part of the job market.

Washington job numbers up

OLYMPIA – Washington has gained back the jobs it lost during the Great Recession and sees its employment slowly expanding.

Figures released Wednesday by the state Employment Security Department put the state unemployment rate at 6.1 percent, down two-tenths of 1 percent from March and the lowest it has been since October 2008. Over the last three months, it has added an average of about 6,900 jobs per month, a rate comparable to the period between 2005 and 2007 “when the economy was expanding,” Paul Turek, a department labor economist, said. . .

To read the rest of this item, continue inside the blog.

Washington lost 9,500 jobs in last 2 months

OLYMPIA — Washington lost 8,100 jobs last month and 1,400 in September when  employment statistics are adjusted for seasonal variations.

The changes left the state's unemployment rate almost unchanged. It was 7 percent in August, 6.9 percent in September and 7 percent in October. The state Employment Security Department said the losses come after almost two years of slow job growth.

The state didn't report employment statistics last month for September. The reason? The federal government's partial shutdown meant people who help compile some of the figures were on furlough. Paul Turek, a labor economist for the department, said the state did gain some jobs in September and October, but not as many as it normally would so the totals come off as a loss when seasonal adjustments are made. More from the department's statement 

The drops are likely related to recent statistical adjustments and some softening of the economy, he said.

“We enjoyed a very long growth streak, but we should expect there will be ups and downs over time as the recovery gradually strengthens,” Turek said.

Both the job numbers and the unemployment rate may be revised as more information comes in.

Industries with job gains in October wholesale trade, up 1,000; retail trade, up 400; other services, up 300; government, up 200 jobs, mostly in K-12 education and state higher education; and the transportation, warehousing and utilities industry, up 100.

Industries that reported job losses included education and health services, down 2,800 jobs; construction, down 2,800; leisure and hospitality, down 2,700; manufacturing, down 1,300 jobs; professional and business services, down 300; financial activities, down 100; and information, down 100.

 

Furloughs prevents Employment Security from releasing September jobs report

Due to the government shutdown earlier this month, Washington's monthly and Spokane County's monthly September employment report will be delayed.

It will be combined with the October report, The state report comes out Wednesday, Nov. 20. The Spokane County (and other county) reports comes out on Tuesday, Nov. 26, just before Thanksgiving.

 

The schedule for the rest of 2013 is:

 

Data for

month of:

Statewide numbers released

County numbers released

September

Nov. 20

Nov. 26

October

Nov. 20

Nov. 26

November

Dec. 18

Dec. 24

Spokane County’s jobless rate falls to 7.2 percent in August

Spokane County's jobless rate in August dropped to 7.2 percent, the lowest in 2013, the state Employment Security Department said.

The number is not seasonally adjusted.

In August a year ago, the jobless rate was 8.6 percent. The net job gain from 12 months ago, the ESD reported, was 6,700. The leading sectors were health, construction, leisure-hospitality, warehousing and transport, and food and drink services.

A full update on the latest numbers will be on Spokesman.com later Tuesday.

Washington jobless rate drops to 6.8 percent, lowest since November 2008

Washington’s unemployment rate dropped to an estimated 6.8 percent in May, the first time under 7 percent since November 2008, when the rate was 6.5 percent, the state Employment Security Department said Wednesday.

The state’s unemployment rate has fallen by 0.7 percentage points since the start of the year.

Individual county jobless reports will be issued next week.

The latest report says Washington added about 4,100 jobs in May, seasonally adjusted. Economists revised the April job numbers downward by 2,100 jobs, from a preliminary estimated gain of 3,800 to a gain of 1,700.

Industries with the most estimated job gains in May were government, up 3,200; education and health services, up 2,500; leisure and hospitality, up 1,500; transportation, warehousing and utilities, up 600; and retail trade, up 300 jobs.

Industries showing the most job losses last month included “other services,” down 1,400; manufacturing, down 600; professional and business services, down 500; construction, down 500; wholesale trade, down 400; financial activities, down 300; and information, down 200.

States with the largest number of unemployed? Here are the top six

Washington State will release Spokane County jobless numbers for April tomorrow, May 21.

To help us get in the mood, let's look at some national statistics and compare who's got the most and the least.

Washington, in the March numbers was the state with the 13th-most number of people listed as unemployed.

The number back in March was 254,024, according to the State Unemployment database at a site called Department of Numbers.com.

The six states with the largest numbers unemployed in order were:  California, Texas, New York, Florida, Illinois and Pennsylvania.

The states with three lowest totals of workers out a job were North Dakota, Vermont, Wyoming.

In terms of jobless percentage, the worst five are: Nevada, Illinois. Mississippi, California, North Carolina.

For lowest rate, the five are: North Dakota, Nebraska, Vermont, South Dakota, Iowa.

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.

Washington February jobless rate stuck at 7.5 percent for third month in a row

From the state Employment Security Department:

Washington added an estimated 4,000 jobs in February, while the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate remained at 7.5 percent for the third month in a row.

Individual county jobless numbers will be released on Tuesday.

“February was relatively uneventful,” said Anneliese Vance-Sherman, a labor economist for the Employment Security Department. “The job growth was close to the monthly average for the past year, with no big surprises.”

The state has added about 65,000 jobs in the past year, averaging about 5,000 per month. So far, the state has regained about 70 percent of the 205,000 jobs that were lost due to the recession.

Industries with the most estimated job gains in February were education and health services, up 3,000; manufacturing, up 2,900; professional and business services, up 1,200; wholesale trade, up 600; information, up 400 jobs; other services, up 400 jobs; and government, up 400 jobs.

Industries showing the most job losses last month included construction, down 3,600 jobs; leisure and hospitality, down 1,100; and transportation, warehousing and utilities, down 400.jobs.

Fewer people hunt for jobs in the state, causing jobless rate to fall to 7.6 percent

Washington’s state unemployment rate dropped to a seasonally adjusted 7.6 percent rate in December. That's the lowest point in four years and down slightly from the revised seasonally adjusted rate of 7.7 percent in November.

But it's not all good news. The state's Employment Security Department economists say declines in the unemployment rate have been due largely to a shrinking labor force, as unemployed job seekers stop looking for work.

“Our population is growing and we’ve regained more than half of the jobs lost during the recession, but the number of people in the labor force has been declining,” said Joe Elling, chief labor economist for Employment Security. “When the labor force shrinks, it artificially lowers the unemployment rate.”

The total number of employed and unemployed workers in Washington has fallen 60,000 since employment reached its low point in February 2010, about half of that in the past year. Meanwhile, the total number of jobs has grown by about 115,000 in the past three years, out of a recession loss of about 205,000 jobs.

Preliminary data for December 2012 show a total drop of 7,900 jobs. Elling said there was weak response to the employer survey in December, and the number may be revised when late-arriving data are factored in.

For a fuller profile of the gains and losses in job sectors, look for today's online business story at Spokesman.com.

Either March 2009 or December 2008: which is the best month to compare Spokane’s jobless rate?

Tuesday's state number for Spokane County unemployment led to a story that noted September's 8.2 percent is the lowest for this area since 2009.

Specifically, since March 2009. In that month the rate was 8.6 percent. Since then, the rates all were in the high 8s or 9s.

That March 2009 number was the “seasonally adjusted” jobless rate.

However, if you ask Doug Tweedy, the state labor economist for Spokane, the last time our jobless rate was as low was actually December 2008.

He prefers the seasonally nonadjusted rate for Spokane County's jobless rate.

Which is the better number?  Beats the heck out of me.

The state uses seasonal adjustments to account for built-in swings and shifts in employment due to seasonal trends. Such as resorts hiring in the summer, or schools bringing workers back on in the fall.

But Tweedy said the adjusted number has been impacted by being baselined against a series of disruptive recessionary job numbers, and that affects the reliability of that measure.

He also noted that he's found the adjusted number is sometimes better and sometimes worse in trying to find an accurate unemployment rate.

Anyone care to sound off on this topic?

Washington jobless rate inched up to 8.5 percent in July

Washington gained 5,000 jobs in July, even while the state jobless rate rose from 8.3 percent in June to 8.5 percent in July, the Employment Security Department said Wednesday.

The U.S. unemployment rate for July is 8.3 percent, up slightly from 8.2 percent in June.

Individual county unemployment rates will be released next week by the state.

According to workplace estimates, the number of jobless state residents seeking work increased by about 4,200. At the same time, the number of employed workers fell an estimated 14,000.

Overall, this amounted to a decrease of 9,800 people in the labor force.

Washington’s job figures showed positive growth from one year ago; July 2011’s jobless rate was 9.3 percent. And since one year ago, Washington has gained roughly 57,000 jobs, based on data compiled by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Spokane County jobless rate increases, due in part to college grads

Spokane County's unemployment rate for May grew to 9.1 percent, up from 8.7 percent in April, the state reported on Tuesday.

The sad news: the May jobless rate this year is exactly the same as one year earlier, 9.1 percent.

Statewide, Washington's jobless rate ticked up to 8.3 percent in May, compared to 8.2 percent in April.

Some good news: Spokane's jobs grew by  2,900 from April 2012-May 2012, the state Employment Security Department reported. That's the nonadjusted number for Spokane. If one were to use the seasonally adjusted employment number, Spokane gained only 1,600 jobs.

To look at the numbers directly, go here.

Sectors seeing upticks: construction, manufacturing and professional-scientific-technical.

Doug Tweedy, the Spokane area labor economist, said the job growth number is based on employer surveys. The jobless number is based on completely different surveys collected from Spokane area households.

Between the two, Tweedy said the employment numbers (which exclude farm jobs and sole proprietorships) is a more accurate number for the Spokane area job market.

The jobless increase reflects the influx of recent college grads getting into the job growth, Tweedy said.

Washington loses 18,400 jobs in September, according to state numbers

Washington's September jobless rate dropped two-tenths of a percent to 9.1 percent, said the Employment Security Department on Wednesday.

Even so, the slight drop is accompanied by the loss of 18,400 jobs on a seasonally adjusted basis.

Construction lost the most in the past month, dropping by 1,800 jobs statewide.

The state manufacturing sector enjoyed the largest job gains over August, with an estimated 800 jobs added. Education and health services and professional and business services also reported growth.

Total nonfarm jobs are about 27,000 higher in September 2011 than one year ago, the ESD also reported.

Specific county numbers will be released next Tuesday.

To study the numbers, here's the ESD link.

Spokane County jobless rate goes up to 9.2 percent in August

August is a typically decent jobs month, but the latest job totals from the state and from Spokane County show a continuation of a generally OK year, but nothing great.

The preliminary jobless number for Spokane County for August is 9.2 percent, according to the state Employment Security Department. In July it was 8.8. The August number is not seasonally adjusted, said Doug Tweedy, the state's Eastern Washington labor economist.

A year ago, Spokane County was also at 9.2 percent.

The telling difference: in August 2010 the county had 212,110 employed adults. This past August that number fell to 208,410.

The biggest losers by industries were:  Government, retail trade, construction and financial services.

Look for a more detailed summary at Spokesman.com later today, or in tomorrow's business section of The Spokesman-Review.

Not all the job numbers are gloomy, say Washington state executives

While the most recent monthly jobless numbers from Washington are not whoop-worthy, the economy is not totally in the tank.

The post below summarizes the key data, including that Washington state lost a net 700 jobs in May.

Still, the May 2011 unemployment rate is 0.5 percent less than the May 2010 rate of 9.6 percent, according to the state Employment Security Department summary.

The other upbeat item: Robert Half International, a staffing company with offices across the country, noted that 11 percent of executives in Washington anticipate hiring full-time staff in the third quarter.

The survey also said about 98 percent of the execs surveyed expressed “confidence in their companies' growth” for the coming rest of the year. More than 4,000 executives nationwide were surveyed, and 65 were in Washington state, according to a Robert Half press release.

The state's largest employment drops in May came in wholesale trade, which recorded a loss of 2,100 jobs. Other areas that suffered included retail trade (down 1,600), financial activities (down 900) and transportation (down 600).

Leisure and hospitality recorded a large increase in jobs, adding 3,200 positions. The professional and business services sector added 900 jobs while construction employment was up 700.

The crummy spring weather and the impact on Spokane’s jobless rate

The state of Washington does its jobless rate announcements differently. It announced the statewide jobless rate of 9.2 percent last week.

Then, today, the state released the metro and county numbers. 

Spokane's rate inched up slightly this March, to 10.5 percent.

The interesting data tidbit is the effect on jobs of the crummy spring weather, according to regional labor economist Doug Tweedy.

A year ago the county had a higher jobless rate (11 percent) but it also had  500 more people working than we had in March 2011, state labor data show.

Tweedy said that comes from seasonal impacts and crummy spring weather. “The weather this past March has slowed outdoor jobs” including construction, landscaping and other areas of the job market, he said.

It's a good thing we don't have tons of jobs reliant on golf courses, swimming pools, splashdown parks and bike rentals. The impact on those areas would have been harsh this year.

State program kept 32,000 employed

Washington's Shared-Work Program kept 32,000 workers on the job in 2010, a record and up 10,000 from 2009, the Employment Security Department said today.

The department also estimated the program, which replaces some wages of full-time workers whose hours were cut, saved the state about $34 million that would have been paid out to those workers had they instead collected the average 20 weeks of unemployment benefits.

Huntwood Industries in Liberty Lake was among the 3,700 employers approved for the program.

“The Shared Work program has helped us retain our valued workers during these challenging economic times,” said Richard Gobble, a human resources specialist with the cabinet maker.

Last year, 2,700 businesses qualified, and 22,000 jobs were saved, the department said.

ESD Commissioner Paul Trause encourage more employers to participate.

“Shared Work has been a difference-maker for thousands of struggling business and workers in Washington,” he said.

 

Unpaid employment taxes triple

Washington employers have not paid unemployment taxes for 11,485 workers so far in 2010, triple the number for the first three quarters of 2009, the Employment Security Department reported today.

Auditors found $196 million in unreported wages and $2.12 million in unpaid taxes, the depatment said, adding that employer failure to pay jeopardizes the ability of their employees to qualify for unemployment benefits.

The department said freight trucking, schools, contractors and salons were among the industries where unreported workers were most frequently found.

The U.S. Department of Labor awarded ESD its Innovations in Integrity Award  for its audits targeting industries where non-reporting is most likely.

“We’re getting better at this,” said Employment Security Commissioner Paul Trause. “That’s bad news for employers that aren’t paying by the rules.”