Spokane Employment Update for May 2013

The official unemployment rate is 7.8% and the actual number of jobs has risen in May. Employment in Spokane tends to peak twice each year – once in May or June and then again in about October or November.



Government and health care workers now account for 39% of the wage income in the area. This combination increased by about 1/2 percentage point every year.

Together with the third and fourth categories (retail, and then accommodations and food services), these 4 categories account for 50% of earned income. The 3rd and 4th categories are dominated by low wage, low skilled, part time jobs. When these two are added together, they are the largest industry sector in Spokane.

Together, these three sectors – government, health care, retail/food/hotels – account for just about half of the jobs in Spokane County.

I have rotated the chart into a vertical orientation to make it easier to see the relative sizes of the industry categories. From this  you can see that Spokane’s economy is overwhelmingly dominated by health care, government and retail/hotels/food service and is not diversified. Government is also larger than it appears because much government work is outsourced to private contractors who work solely on government contracts. But this latter group is not counted as government workers.



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