Spokane Unemployment and Employment Data for May 2011

The number of non-farm workers is at 2004 levels. May and June are historically peaks in employment, with a 2nd peak sometimes occurring around Christmas. Unlike 2005-2010, when employment rose from April to May, this year, employment went down. This suggests worsening employment numbers until late Fall of 2011.

Unemployment (not seasonally adjusted) goes up to 9.0% (and will be blamed, of course, on too many people looking for work). This is only the 2nd time since 2000 that unemployment went up from April to May – and the other time was in 2009.

Some bright spots – initial unemployment claims are down, suggesting fewer layoffs. Continuing unemployment claims are also down, but that is influenced by unemployed workers that have exhausted their benefits and are no longer eligible for unemployment checks (see last chart, below).

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