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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. . .
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.
Spokane County’s unemployment rate increased to 8.4 percent in November despite an increase in jobs.
Employment Security Division statistics released this morning showed statewide employment was almost flat, as the unemployment rate remained at a seasonally adjusted rate of 9.2 percent.
In Spokane County, where figures are not seasonally adjusted, 224,590 workers had jobs, up about 3,500 from October, when the unemployment rate was 8.1 percent.
But the labor force increased by almost 5,000 between October and November.
The unemployment rate was also 8.4 percent in November 2009, when 220,480 had jobs.
The national unemployment rate for November was 9.8 percent.
The unemployment rate in Spokane County fell to 8.2 percent in September as employers added another 1,220 workers.
Employment in the county has increased by more than 2,000 since September 2009.
The improving employment picture locally, the rate was 8.8 percent in August, contrasts with that for Washington as a whole.
Figures released today by the Employment Security Department show an increase in unemployment as private-sector hiring failed to offset layoffs among government workers.
The unemployment rate held steady at nine percent, lower than the 9.6 percent rate for the United States.
Businesses added 1,000 workers, but 4,200 public-sector workers lost their jobs.
More people found work in the Spokane area last month, bringing the unemployment rate down to 10.5 percent. It was 11.3 percent in February, and stood at 9.7 percent one year ago.
Spokane County had an estimated 214,500 employed people in March, or about 2,400 more than in February, the state Employment Security Department reported this morning. The number of unemployed was about 25,000, down from nearly 27,000 the month before.
In a sign the local economy is turning the corner on job losses, employment gains occurred across most industries, said Regional Labor Economist Doug Tweedy in Spokane.
A significant part of the employment gain last month was in seasonal hires by employers who delayed hiring because of the lingering effects of the recession, Tweedy said.
Construction and retail trades, two of the hardest hit industries during this recession, posted 400 job gains in March. Professional and technical trades added another 300 jobs.