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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.
Private employers in Spokane County hired 2,100 workers in April, a gain only slightly offset by a cutback in government employment.
The new hires, the Washington Employment Security Department said today, rolled the county unemployment rate back to 9.1 percent from 10.3 percent in March, and 9.7 percent in April 2010.
Total employment climbed to 215,120 from 213,170 in March. The total in April 2010 was 216,440.
Since then, the labor force has contracted by almost 3,000 people, to 236,660.
ESD Regional Labor Economist Doug Tweedy said construction was the big gainer, with 900 hires. But construction employment remains 3,000 below the peak of a few years ago, he noted.
Tweedy said manufacturers added 300 workers, health services 300, and professional, scientific and technical businesses 200.
Federal, state and local governments laid off more than 100, he said, adding that it was the only sector to decline.
Unemployment in Spokane County climbed for the fourth consecutive month in February, to 10.6 percent.
Statistics released today by the Washington Employment Security Department show a modest increase in total employment, to 213,210, up 460 from 212,750 in January.
But the workforce grew faster, up 1,230 to 238,430 in February.
There were 25,220 people looking for work.
The department released statewide unemployment numbers earlier this month. The February rate was 9.8 percent.
All figures are unadjusted for seasonal swings in employment.
The unemployment rate in Spokane County has increased steadily since October, when the rate was 8.6 percent.
Today, the monthly jobless totals came out, and Spokane County’s July unemployment rate remained unchanged at 8.6 percent. Notably, the 8.6 percent is identical to what it was in July 2009.
Among other notable findings, reported by Washington Employment Security regional labor economist Doug Tweedy:
- The county’s total workforce fell by about 5,000 jobholders, but the county jobless rate remained the same. Those 5,000 jobs were seasonal workers for school districts who shut down in the summer. Those jobs come back gradually in August and September, he said.
- Spokane gained 500 private sector jobs in July. Those came in manufacturing, construction and health care, Tweedy said. That gives Spokane County five consecutive months of private sector growth. Even though the job growth is small in that period, that’s a positive trend, he said.
- Washington’s private sector picked up 3,100 jobs in July.
- July also saw roughly 2,800 Spokane County initial jobless claims. That’s the lowest initial-claim total since September 2008, Tweedy said.