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

Jobless rate rises in June

County’s out-of-work increased to 9.1 percent

Spokane County’s jobless rate pushed up to 9.1 percent in June from 8.8 percent the month before, the state reported Tuesday.

In Spokane in June, about 21,300 adult job seekers were out of work, an increase of more than 1,600 from May, according to the state Employment Security Department.

Spokane’s June jobless rate of 9.1 percent is exactly the same as in June 2010.

Spokane County’s largest employment gains from May to June occurred in retail trade (up 800) and food and beverage (up 200).

The big losses occurred in education (down 500) and business and professional services (down 100). Some education job cuts are seasonal and occur as schools close for the summer.

At the same time, some of those lost government jobs are also an initial round of permanent layoffs, said regional labor economist Doug Tweedy. “When school jobs come back in September, we’ll have a better idea on how many administrative jobs, at the state, county and local government level, we’re losing,” he said.

Tweedy said the main upbeat note is a 1,300-job gain in private-employment sector in Spokane.

It’s difficult to say what wages those new jobs are paying, but Tweedy said it’s likely varied.

“Some are in manufacturing, one of the higher-paying sectors. Others are in health care, which pays well. But others are in retail, at the lower end of the wage scale,” Tweedy said.

Washington’s unemployment rate in June was 9.3 percent, up from 9 percent the month before but down slightly from 9.4 percent a year earlier.

Washington counties with the highest jobless rates were Grays Harbor (13.8 percent) and Ferry (13.1 percent). Counties with the lowest June unemployment rates were Garfield (7 percent) and Whitman (7.1 percent).