Snohomish County’s jobless rate drops

EVERETT — Snohomish County’s unemployment rate dropped in March as many employment sectors added workers, the state Employment Security Department reported Tuesday.

The county jobless rate dropped from a revised 10.4 percent in February to 10.1 percent last month. And unlike previous months,

it wasn’t just the aerospace industry that was hiring people.

Adding jobs were mining, logging, and construction; aerospace, professional and business services, education and health services, and leisure and hospitality.

“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 100 new jobs over the month,” said Anneliese Vance-Sherman, the regional labor economist for employment security.

The sector has added 3,200 jobs in the past year.

During that time, the county’s manufacturing industry has grown by 3,400 workers, so nearly all of the expansion has been related to aerospace.

Vance-Sherman noted that county aerospace jobs were estimated at 37,800 in March.

Adding 300 jobs last month were professional and business services, a sector that helps other businesses. “The majority of new jobs were added in administrative support, waste management and remediation,” Vance-Sherman said.

Laying people off locally were general merchandise stores, insurance carriers and state and local government. Most other sectors remained flat. Among the sectors not hiring or firing was retail trade, which laid off large numbers of workers after the Christmas holidays.

Vance-Sherman said the top five occupations for unemployment insurance claims last month were construction and extraction, production, office support, installation and repair, and transportation and material moving.

Initial claims for jobless benefits rose slightly from 5,306 in February to 5,389 in March. The peak for new claims was 10,501 in December of 2008.

Continued claims also rose slightly last month, up 25 to 13,200. And final claims also rose, from 826 in February to 846 in March. Vance-Sherman said.

Last month, the county’s estimated labor force was 379,980 people. That includes an estimated 341,470 employed and 38,510 who were unemployed. The numbers don’t include discouraged workers who have given up looking for a job.

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