Spokane County’s unemployment rate increased slightly in July over the prior month because of a seasonal drop in education and firefighting jobs.
The county’s education sector dropped 1,600 jobs in July, according to nonseasonally adjusted data from the Washington State Employment Security Department.
“We do expect educators back in September and expect the unemployment rate to decrease with that,” said Doug Tweedy, regional economist for the state employment department.
Because the fire season in Spokane County was milder last month compared with prior years, it contributed to a drop of 3,400 government jobs – which include firefighting positions – in July, Tweedy said.
Spokane County lost 1,500 nonfarm jobs and gained 1,900 private sector positions in July, according to the employment department.
The construction sector saw a gain of 1,500 jobs, and leisure and hospitality added 400 jobs in July. Retail trade and the information sector remained flat compared to the previous month.
The county’s unemployment rate was 5.5% in June and 4.8% in July 2018.
The state’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 4.6% in July.
Tweedy said unemployment insurance claims for laid-off workers decreased in July, signaling a promising future for the county’s job market.
Registered nurses, retail salespeople, customer service representatives, heavy and tractor trailer truck drivers, stock clerks and order fillers were the top in-demand occupations in the county in June, according to the state employment department, The Conference Board and Help Wanted OnLine job announcements.
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