County remains hard at work

Herald staff

Normal seasonal trends kept the Snohomish County unemployment rate steady and the state’s relatively unchanged, state officials said Tuesday.

State Employment Security Commissioner Carver Gayton said the unemployment rate typically remains stable in June and July, when large increases in total employment are offset by an increase in the labor force.

While seasonal hiring for tourism, hotels and lodging increased, those numbers were offset by cutbacks among federal census workers and education-related jobs, the agency reported.

The county’s jobless rate of 3.7 percent has not changed since April, while the state’s rate inched up one-tenth of a percentage point, to 4.6 percent of the work force. That’s still down three-tenths of a percentage point from the 4.9 percent jobless rate a year ago.

In the county, 12,700 were without jobs in June out of the total workforce of 345,700. That was only 1,000 more than a month ago when the workforce stood at 344,400. A year ago, 4.1 percent of the county’s workforce of 341,400 was jobless.

Seasonally adjusted, the statewide jobless rate was flat, at 4.7 percent, compared to a national rate of 4.0 percent.

In Island County, 1,200 – or 4.2 percent – of the county’s workforce of 29,000 was without jobs. That is down from May, when the Island County rate was at 4.4 percent and the labor force was the same size.

Throughout the state, total nonfarm wage and salary employment increased by 19,900, the agency said.

Wholesale and retail trade jumped by 8,500, led by apparel and dining places. Service employment increased by 7,100, led by strong gains in recreation, computer data processing and temporary personnel services. Machinery and electronics increased by 300, and textile and apparel manufacturing rose by 200.

Losses were attributed to a 6,100-worker cutback of census workers and 6,300 pullback in education.

Aircraft and parts employment dropped by 200, bringing the cumulative downsizing, led by Boeing Co. job reductions, from the July 1998 peak to 26,200, the agency said. About 90 percent of June’s cuts were among Boeing employees, an agency official said.

Associated Press contributed to this report.

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