Unemployment declining in Spokane County

SPOKANE, Wash. - Thousands of people in Spokane are out of work but new unemployment numbers show things are looking a little better.

Washington unemployment rate stands at 6.5 percent; in Spokane County it's 7.7 percent, though the county added 2,700 jobs in April.

"Things are picking up, employers are hiring at a higher rate than they were last year at this time," Christina Gross with Manpower said.

Gross works to connect employers with employees and said the job climate is positive and seeing signs of progress.

Spokane County unemployment down

"In Spokane it tends to be busier spring through fall and this year it did start earlier, it's just been a steady increase since then," Gross said.

Jason Miller knows what it's like to be out of work. He got laid off from his job installing fire suppression sprinklers at the end of last year but has been able to find temporary work with several companies.

"To have a check I mean you got to be able to live no matter if it's in the field you are working in or not," Miller said.

The county's unemployment rate declined significantly last month, going from 9 percent in March down to 7.7 percent in April. The state's unemployment rate also dropped from month to month.

Each year during this time we see hiring increase with summer jobs but economists say it's not just the summer hiring that's adding to the job growth.

"If you take out the seasonal patterns, we are still seeing an improvement and a drop in the unemployment rate and job growth," Scott Bailey, a Regional Economist with the Washington State Employment Security Department, said.

In Spokane, we're seeing construction, retail and leisure and hospitality jobs being added.

According to Worksource, Spokane County has over 1,600 job openings right now.