Spokane County’s unemployment rate was 4.9 percent in August, hitting an 18-year low for the month.
The county’s August jobless rate hasn’t dropped below 5 percent since 1999, when the rate was 4.5 percent, said Doug Tweedy, regional economist for the Washington Employment Security Division.
Spokane County’s revised unemployment rate was 4.9 percent in July and 6.2 percent in August 2016.
The three-county Spokane metro area reported 5 percent unemployment in August, unchanged from July. The metro area encompasses Spokane, Stevens and Pend Oreille counties.
The rebounding local economy led to more jobs this summer in the leisure and hospitality industry. Restaurants, bars and lodging establishments added about 1,100 more jobs this summer compared to 2016 hiring, Tweedy said. Many of the jobs are seasonal and hiring peaks during the summer, he said.
Overall job growth continues to be robust for the region, with the Spokane metro area on track to add 6,000 to 7,000 new positions in 2017, Tweedy said.
Health care remains a strong driver for the local economy. About 1,500 new positions in health care have been added this year, he said.
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