Spokane County unemployment rate hits lowest point since late 2008November 8th, 2012
Preliminary Washington state Employment Security Department statistics put the Spokane County unemployment rate in October at 7.6 percent, the lowest rate since December 2008.
The unemployment rate, which isn't seasonally adjusted, fell from 8 percent in the previous month and was down from 8.3 percent in October 2011.
Doug Tweedy, Spokane-based regional economist for the Employment Security Department, says the drop in unemployment is greater than anticipated due to increases in permanent private-sector employment coupled with seasonal employment gains.
"We expected the unemployment rates to come down, but not to the levels they've come down to," Tweedy says. "We're seeing some real improvement."
A separate preliminary state report says total nonfarm employment in Spokane County was 210,700, the highest level since October 2009.
The previous month, the state reported that 208,500 people had nonfarm jobs. In October 2011, 208,100 people were employed in such jobs in Spokane County.
Total private employment increased by 3,200 jobs between October 2012 and October 2011, state statistics show. A large portion of that growth has occurred in business and professional services, with 1,500 additional jobs. About 800 of those jobs aren't seasonal, Tweedy says.
Some of the private-sector job gains have been offset by government job losses. The number of people employed in the public sector had decreased by 600 since October 2011, including a drop of 400 state government jobs.