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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Spokane County jobless rate drops to 5% in May

UPDATED: Wed., June 23, 2021

Laid-off workers in Spokane County filed 288 new unemployment claims the week ending July 17, a 2% decrease from the 294 claims filed the week before, according to data from the Washington State Employment Security Department.  (Associated Press)
Laid-off workers in Spokane County filed 288 new unemployment claims the week ending July 17, a 2% decrease from the 294 claims filed the week before, according to data from the Washington State Employment Security Department. (Associated Press)

Spokane County’s nonseasonally adjusted unemployment rate dropped to 5% in May, suggesting jobs in some industries are returning to pre-pandemic levels.

The county’s unemployment rate last month was at its lowest since December 2019, when the unemployment rate was 4.8%, according to data from the Washington state Employment Security Department.

The Spokane metropolitan statistical area, which includes Spokane, Stevens and Pend Oreille counties, added 2,600 nonfarm jobs and 2,500 private sector jobs from April to May, according to the department.

The service providing sector added the greatest number of jobs with 2,300 in May. The leisure and hospitality sector – one of the hardest hit by the pandemic – added 1,500 jobs last month.

The leisure and hospitality sector, with 24,000 total jobs last month, has nearly recovered the number of positions it had prior to the pandemic. The sector had 24,500 jobs in May 2019.

For comparison, the leisure and hospitality sector had 16,400 jobs in May 2020.

The food services and drinking places sector added 700 jobs, while construction and education and health services sectors each added 300 jobs. Jobs in retail trade, transportation, warehousing and utilities, and finance and insurance held steady.

The county’s unemployment rate was 12.7% in May 2020. It was 6.1% in April.

The state’s nonseasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 5.3% in May.Amy Edelen can be reached at (509) 459-5581 or at amye@spokesman.com.

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