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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Office Hours

Survey says Spokane gained 1,000 construction jobs in May. Sound right?

Spokane County’s jobless rate inched up in May to 7.8 percent, up from 7.5 percent in April, the Washington Employment Security Department said.

Washington state’s unemployment rate in May was 6.6 percent, up slightly from 6.5 percent.

The jobless rate is derived from the Civilian Labor Force survey, which said Spokane added 150 jobs in May. But Spokane County also saw 740 more potential workers entering the job market in May, causing the jobless rate to climb, said state labor economist Doug Tweedy.

A second survey, based on total non-farm jobs, showed a different set of numbers, Tweedy noted. Using surveys of employers, it’s generally more accurate, Tweedy said.

The non-farm survey found Spokane gained 3,300 private jobs since April. Government jobs fell by 100, accounting for a net gain of 3,200 jobs in May, he said.

Leading the private-sector growth was construction, which added close to 1,000 jobs from April to May. Of those, roughly 300 are seasonal construction jobs, noted Tweedy.

Spokane had 10,500 construction jobs in May, well below the all-time bubble for that sector — 14,200 jobs in spring of 2007, Tweedy said.

Next largest in job gains during May was retail trade, which added 500 jobs. Leisure and hospitality added 200 jobs in May, Tweedy said.

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