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Monday, November 18, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Retail hiring in Spokane area grows ahead of the holiday season

Several hundred merrymakers await the arrival of Santa Claus at River Park Square mall in downtown Spokane Friday, Nov. 18, 2016. Stores hired about 500 seasonal workers last month, boosting employment in the Spokane area. (Jesse Tinsley / The Spokesman-Review)
Several hundred merrymakers await the arrival of Santa Claus at River Park Square mall in downtown Spokane Friday, Nov. 18, 2016. Stores hired about 500 seasonal workers last month, boosting employment in the Spokane area. (Jesse Tinsley / The Spokesman-Review)

Retail hiring added a little bit of cheer to the local economy last month.

General merchandise stores in the Spokane area went on a hiring spree in November, adding 500 new employees ahead of the busy holiday shopping season.

Retail trade was a growth area for Spokane County, which posted a 5.6 percent unemployment rate in November, according to the Washington Employment Security Department.

The rate was down from 5.8 percent in October, and down from 5.9 percent in November 2015.

Last month, hiring in health care, education and transportation helped offset job losses in areas such as construction, logging and hospitality and food services, which typically slow down this time of year, said Ajsa Suljic, a regional economist for the state.

The number of local residents looking for work grew during November, which is also a sign of a healthy job market.

“The major of people entering the labor force were able to find jobs,” Suljic said.

The Spokane metro area has experienced robust job growth over the past 12 months, adding about 10,400 jobs, she said. The growth rate was 4.4 percent for the metro area, which includes Stevens and Pend Oreille counties.

“Spokane is one of the faster growing areas of the state of Washington,” Suljic said.

For the rate of job growth, the Wenatchee metro area ranked first with a 6.2 percent increase; Spokane metro area was second at 4.4 percent and the Seattle metro area was third at 3.1 percent.

For numbers of jobs added, the Seattle metro area was first with 49,000 new jobs; Spokane was second at 10,400 and the Tri-Cities was third with 3,900 jobs.

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