Spokane County’s unemployment rate increased slightly to 5.6% in August over the prior month, spurred mostly by a continued seasonal decline in education jobs.
The county dropped 1,100 education jobs in August, according to nonseasonally adjusted data from the Washington State Employment Security Department.
Spokane County lost 2,200 nonfarm jobs and 800 private sector positions in August, compared with July, according to the employment department.
The construction sector lost 600 jobs, and retail trade dropped 400 jobs in August.
“Usually, August is when people come to Spokane to shop for back-to-school, and more people are doing that over the internet rather than in store,” said Doug Tweedy, regional economist for the employment department, referring to the decline in retail trade jobs.
The transportation and utilities as well as leisure and hospitality sectors gained 100 jobs each in August.
The county’s unemployment rate was 5.5% in July and 4.9% in August 2018.
The state’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 4.6% in August.
Tweedy said he expects the county’s unemployment rate will drop in September when area schools are back in session.
Unemployment insurance claims for laid-off workers decreased in August, signaling a promising future for the county job market, he added.
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