The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics provides historical employment data by city (for cities of 25,000 population or greater).
The following chart shows the total number of employed people from 1990 to the end of 2012 in the City of Spokane.
The City of Spokane has almost exactly the same number of jobs as it did in 1995-1996. There has been no growth in jobs in 17 years. Ouch. In addition, Spokane employment has become more cyclical – note the annual up and down cycle, at right, is greater than that prior to year 2000. (A county chart, after the break, shows no growth in jobs since 1998.)
Update: A comment asks if the flat job growth could be due to a flat population growth in the City of Spokane? Good question.
From the peak employment years near 2000 to the end of 2012, the City’s population increased by 7% while the number of jobs decreased by 9%. To answer the question, no, the flat job growth is not due to a flat population growth.
The following chart shows City of Spokane population from 1890 to 2010 (the horizontal axis is different than the 1990-2012 chart above) (Data).
All city employment charts were generated by the BLS web site tools.
Obviously, this is not a good trend, and is the 2nd worst job growth trend in the State, after Tacoma, in last place (other city growth trend charts shown after the break, below).
Second, you may remember claims made by the Spokane Public Facilities District (PFD) that expansion of the Convention Center would result in an increase in jobs in Spokane. Unfortunately, no increase in jobs is visible in the employment data.
After the break, charts of other large cities in the State of Washington. Only Tacoma shows a job market worse than Spokane. Notably, most cities in Washington show steady growth in jobs over this period of time, unlike Spokane.
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