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Office Hours

Good news in the July jobless numbers, if you look hard

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.

Tom Sowa
Tom Sowa covers technology, retail and economic development and writes the Office Hours blog.