Local employers continued to hire in July, adding nearly 2,100 positions in the Spokane metro area.
The unemployment rate was 5.1 percent for the metro area encompassing Spokane, Stevens and Pend Oreille counties during July.
Unemployment for the metro area was 5 percent in June and 6.4 percent in July 2016.
The area has three years of strong job growth under its belt, and the trend is expected to continue, said Doug Tweedy, regional economist for the Washington Employment Security Department.
Employers are hiring across a broad array of industries, which gives clout to the trend, he said.
“We don’t have the mega employers like the west side of the state does,” Tweedy said. “We’re diversified, so we’re better able to withstand market fluctuations.”
Health services, public and private education and manufacturing added the most jobs in July.
Health services has added 1,300 jobs over the past 12 months, mostly in outpatient clinics and health care-related laboratories, Tweedy said.
The manufacturing industry has added 300 jobs over the past 12 months, with most of the hiring occurring in food processing, pharmaceuticals and metal fabrication, he said.
Employment in the local construction industry dipped during July, which is a bit unusual during the peak of the building season, Tweedy said. About 12,800 people worked in construction in the Spokane metro area during July, compared to 13,400 a year ago. The drop may be related to large construction projects winding down, he said.
July unemployment rates by county were: Spokane, 5 percent; Stevens, 6.1 percent; Pend Oreille, 6.4 percent; Lincoln, 4.1 percent; Adams, 4.1 percent; and Ferry, 9.4 percent.
This story was updated to correct the number of new jobs in the Spokane metro area.
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