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The unemployment rate in Spokane County slipped to 7.8 percent in October, the lowest rate in almost two years. The number of employed rose to 220,210, up from 216,960 in September, and 218,850 in October 2009.
The leaders of President Barack Obama’s bipartisan deficit commission launched a daring assault on mushrooming federal deficits today, proposing reducing annual cost-of-living increases for Social Security, gradually raising the retirement age to 69 and taking aim at popular tax breaks such as the mortgage interest deduction.
The unemployment rate in Spokane County fell to 8.2 percent in September as educators headed back to classrooms. Doug Tweedy, regional labor economist for the Washington Employment Security Department, said seasonal hiring by schools accounted for all of the 1,220 jobs added to local payrolls since August, when the jobless rate was 8.8 percent.
A disabled mother living on federal assistance could very well end up homeless after inheriting money from her father who died last year. The sum, $60,000, is not enough to sustain the 55-year-old north Spokane woman, but it is enough to cause her to lose the federal housing subsidy that allows her to live in a duplex apartment with her two teenage children.
WASHINGTON – As if voters don’t have enough to be angry about this election year, the government is expected to announce this week that more than 58 million Social Security recipients will go through another year without an increase in their monthly benefits. It would mark only the second year without an increase since automatic adjustments for inflation were adopted in 1975. The first year was this year.
New employment numbers show encouraging signs in Spokane County. Total employment in the county jumped by 3,300 people from July to August. In addition, there were 450 more people employed than in August last year – the first year-over-year increase since November 2008. All told, employment in the county was 215,690 last month, resulting in a drop in the unemployment rate to 8.6 percent from 8.8 percent.
Eight years ago, Bassam Al Hayek left a little town near Bethlehem to start a new life away from the political and religious crossfire. He and his wife settled in Spokane, far away from the Middle East violence he saw as an Arab Christian in the Palestinian territories. “We knew we would be killed sooner or later,” Al Hayek said of living in the midst of fighting between fundamentalist Muslims and Israeli troops, according to a 2008 Spokesman-Review article. “It was just a matter of by whom and when.”
Maybe Rockwell’s 1984 song “Somebody’s Watching Me,” about the fear of being watched, foretold the future of surveillance. The chorus, “I always feel like somebody’s watching me. I have no privacy,” is certainly true in places like New York and Chicago, where manned surveillance stations keep an eye on hundreds of square miles. It isn’t too far from reality in downtown Spokane, either.
A security officer doing his rounds in east Spokane was shot and killed Tuesday after a confrontation with a group of apartment residents sitting outside along their rear alley on the warm summer night. George Hayek, 26, an officer for Securitas Security Services USA, died at the scene just before 11 p.m. He armed himself with a BB gun that looked like a semi-automatic handgun during the fatal confrontation.
Spokane County’s July unemployment rate remained unchanged at 8.6 percent, the Employment Security Department said Tuesday. That’s also the exact rate from 12 months ago, said Washington regional labor economist Doug Tweedy. Washington’s jobless rate fell from 9 percent in June to 8.9 percent in July.