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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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UPDATED: Thu., June 3, 2021

New jobless claims down 23% in county

The number of new weekly jobless claims in Spokane County dropped for the second consecutive week, according to the Washington state Employment Security Department.

Laid-off workers in Spokane County filed 629 new unemployment claims the week ending May 29, a drop of 23% from the 774 claims filed the week before, the department reported Thursday.

New unemployment claims in the state fell to 10,085 in the week ending May 29, a 13.6% drop compared with 11,666 claims the week before.

A reduction in layoffs in educational services, retail trade, and health care and social assistance sectors contributed to the decrease in new claims last week, according to the ESD.

Continued claims in all unemployment categories dropped 8.4%, with 381,640 applications filed last week.

GM to increase vehicle production

General Motors said Thursday it is able to increase vehicle deliveries to its dealers and customers in the United States and Canada despite a massive shortage of semiconductor chips, and that means most of its U.S. assembly plants will not take traditional summer shutdown.

Shipments of Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon midsize pickups built at Wentzville Assembly in Missouri will increase by about 30,000 total units through the week of July 5. Other vehicles are expected to see more deliveries to dealers soon, too.

GM said it is increasing production of the Chevrolet Silverado heavy duty and GMC Sierra Heavy-duty full-size pickups at Flint Assembly by about 1,000 pickups per month beginning in mid-July.

GM said it is able to do this, despite an ongoing shortage of semiconductor chips used in car parts including electrical systems, because the employees at Flint Assembly have come up with ways to improve efficiency on the production line.

Record growth in service sector

SILVER SPRING, Md. – Growth in the services sector, where most Americans work, hit an all-time high in May as people flock to bars, restaurants and other venues across the country that have fewer or no pandemic-related capacity restrictions.

The Institute for Supply Management said Thursday its monthly survey of service industries jumped to a reading of 64, topping the previous high of 63.7 in March.

April’s reading of 62.7 was also considered strong, as any reading above 50 indicates an expansion in the sector.

It’s the 12th straight month of expansion in the services sector following a two-month contraction in April and May of last year when businesses were forced to shut down during the early stages of the coronavirus pandemic.

Productivity up 5.4% in first quarter

WASHINGTON – U.S. productivity growth was unrevised at a 5.4% rate in the first three months of the year, though recent increases in labor costs accelerated.

The first quarter gain in productivity was unchanged from the initial estimate a month ago, the Labor Department reported Thursday. The 5.4% gain at a seasonally adjusted annual rate followed a steep plunge at a 3.8% rate in the fourth quarter.

Labor costs increased at a 1.7% rate in the first quarter, up from the initial estimate that labor costs had fallen 0.3% in the first quarter.

From staff and wire reports

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