Snohomish County jobless rate down to 9.4% in April

  • By Mike Benbow Herald Writer
  • Tuesday, May 24, 2011 10:19am
  • Business

Snohomish County’s unemployment rate dropped sharply in April as most industries outside government finally began hiring people again.

The county’s jobless rate dropped out of double digits, falling from an adjusted 10.2 percent in March to 9.4 percent in April, the state Employment Security Department reported Tuesday.

While most job categories added at least 100 people, aerospace added 600 last month, boosting the number of jobs it’s added in the past year to 4,000. The Boeing Co. continues to hire people for its new 787 and 747 jets and for increased production of existing jets.

“Growth in Snohomish County’s manufacturing sector continues to be fueled by hiring in the aerospace product and parts manufacturing subsector, which was responsible for 600 new jobs last month,” said Anneliese Vance-Sherman, Employment Security’s labor economist for Snohomish County.

Vance-Sherman also noted that continuing auto sales also have now started to lead to more workers in that sector. Car and auto parts dealers added 100 employees last month.

Professional and business services, a key area because it provides temporary help to other businesses, added 300 jobs in April. That’s a good sign because businesses often use temporary workers before hiring their own.

In addition to broad general hiring, the labor force also contracted in April by 7,180 people, which helped lower the jobless numbers. Both the number of workers and the number of people actively seeking work, were reduced. The jobless numbers don’t include people who’ve become discouraged and stopped looking.

Vance-Sherman noted that during the recession, the jobless rate peaked in February 2010 at 11.1 percent.

She said initial claims for unemployment benefits fell in April from 5,389 to 4,908. Continued claims also fell by 859 people during the month, when 12,341 claims were processed. And final claims also dipped, from 846 to 837 in April.

While jobs in construction have improved slightly, construction workers continued to be the largest share of people receiving jobless benefits, followed by office workers, managers, production workers and people in sales.

While most job sectors added people in April, finance and insurance dropped 100 workers, as did local government and ambulatory health care services.

Vance-Sherman noted that over the year, government has dropped 2,300 workers in the county.

Some were federal census positions that were temporary. About 200 were state workers and some 2,000 were in local governments.

“More losses from the public sector are anticipated in the coming months, as local and state government entities finalize biennial budgets in light of falling anticipated revenues,” she said.

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