Static blurs local job picture

  • Bryan Corliss / Herald Writer
  • Monday, May 21, 2001 9:00pm
  • Business

By Bryan Corliss

Herald Writer

Jobs will be more plentiful in Snohomish County this summer than anywhere else in the Puget Sound metro area, according to report released Monday by a temporary services company.

But the increases should be modest, a state labor economist warned.

"My feeling about Snohomish County is that it’s going to be staying pretty flat — maybe a slight increase," said Donna Thompson, a regional labor economist in Everett. "If I had to take a guess, you’d see 1 percent, maybe 1.5 percent."

The survey by Manpower Inc. shows that 37 percent of companies surveyed in Everett and Lynnwood plan to add workers during the third quarter (July through September). Ten percent plan layoffs, and 53 percent plan no changes, the survey said.

Summer hiring will be broadbased, Manpower said, with increases likely in non-durable goods manufacturing; transportation and public utilities; wholesale and retail trade; finance, insurance and real estate; education and services.

Durable goods manufacturers were mixed in their hiring plans, the company said.

In comparison, only 24 percent of Seattle metro area companies plan to add staff, the survey said. Statewide, 30 percent of companies plan increases, while 10 percent are looking toward layoffs.

The numbers are mixed for the technology-heavy Eastside in King County. There, 30 percent of companies surveyed plan to add staff, but 17 percent plan layoffs — the highest in the eight areas covered by the survey.

The Tri-Cities had the most-vibrant results in the survey. Forty percent of the companies there plan to add workers, and none plan layoffs.

The Snohomish County numbers are an improvement on projections for the current quarter, the report said. Then, 20 percent of the companies surveyed said they planned to add workers, while 13 percent anticipated cuts.

However, the third quarter numbers aren’t as strong as the same period last year, when almost half of the companies surveyed (47 percent) said they planned to add workers.

But the most important number probably is the 53 percent of companies in the Manpower survey that don’t plan any changes in work force, Thompson said.

"There’s not a lot of movement right now in the Snohomish County economy," she said.

While 37 percent of the companies in the survey may be adding workers, the question is "are they hiring two people or 100 people?" Thompson asked.

The Manpower survey is an indicator of employment trends. However, it is skewed toward large employers, Thompson said.

You can call Herald Writer Bryan Corliss at 425-339-3454 or send e-mail to

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