Spokane Employment and Unemployment Update

Long term trend from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics

SMS53440600000000001_246930_1403720257481Shorter term data (which may include local adjustments) from the Washington Employment Security Department’s Numbers and Trends web site:


The chart now shows steady job growth. Unemployment has dropped, as this blog predicted long ago, at about a one percentile point per year rate.


If everything remains the same, total jobs may reach the prior peak 2008 level by 2016. Old projections thought that by about 2016, there would be 235,000 jobs. This is roughly where jobs need to catch up to be comparable to the jobs/population ratio in 2008, due to continued population growth. However, labor force participation has been falling, which means more people are not working (either by choice or because they gave up looking for work).


The simplest “take away” is that the Spokane MSA will be back to 2008 jobs level by about 2016. The  United States as a whole already reached the 2008 level earlier this year; Spokane is taking twice as along as the rest of the country.

A related takeaway, however, is that job growth remains tepid, growing about half as fast as during the 2002-2008 period or the 1990 to 2000 period. Just look at the red line versus the blue line to see the job growth rate, visually. Slow growth in employment is likely to retain Spokane’s low wage problem. (Another post on that shortly).

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