January 2013 Spokane unemployment level at 9.8%

As we have repeatedly pointed out, Spokane’s cyclical employment market reaches peak unemployment in January or February. Regardless, 9.8% unemployment levels (or higher) for January or February for five years in a row is a bad economic situation. February will likely come in around 10%.


If the current rate of decrease in the unemployment rate holds steady, Spokane’s unemployment level will not return to the 5+% range until 2016 to 2017 – or about five more years of high unemployment here.

This type of chart is called a “spaghetti chart” for the resemblance to a plate of spaghetti, where the strands of spaghetti become intertwined and hard to follow. Look in detail at an exploded view of the lines at lower right of the chart (see below). Spokane’s unemployment rate (blue) can be compared to the state (green) and national (red) changes. As you can see, Spokane’s cyclical change is about 2x to 3x greater than the State.

Spokane’s unemployment rate increase of 1.4 percentage points  is greater than the 0.8 point increase in 2012, greater than the 1.3 percentage point increase in 2011, and one point less than the percentage point increase in 2010. These values are about twice as large as the annual variation in past years, before The Great Recession.


Total Employment

The State’s ESD reports  total employment has risen by 4,800 over a year ago. The State numbers have been “locally adjusted” from the raw data from the US BLS and from past experience, this value needs to be verified with the BLS data once it becomes available.


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