Spokane job openings at highest levels in four years

Published On: Aug 09 2012 07:03:40 PM PDT   Updated On: Aug 09 2012 07:04:06 PM PDT
Mackay Manufacturing Spokane Valley

Cutting a surgical tool out of steel with a laser can be complex. If it's one-hundredth of an inch off, it has to be thrown away. It's why Mike Mackay of Mackay Manufacturing says he hires the best.

"Based on the growth of our current customer base, more demand from them, and based on new customers from a variety of industries," Mackay said.

That demand at Mackay Manufacturing in the Spokane Valley calls for more employees. He's added an average of five people every year over the last six years and plans for more hiring.

"Another five or more wouldn't surprise me a year from now," Mackay said.

Mackay is one of the many employers across the country who posted jobs in June. According to a study released this week by the Labor Department, there were 3.8 million openings that month, the most since July 2008.

Nationally, there were 12.7 million unemployed people or 8.3 percent. That averages out to 3.4 unemployed people for every job. Economists say in a healthy job market, the ratio is around 2 to 1.

Aliciana Gray has been looking for a job as an administrative assistant for a year and a half. She's applying for more jobs now, not because she's changed her habits, but because there's more available.

"Last spring, there was very little jobs I could apply for," Gray said. "Probably one a week I would do, and now I do at least three or four a day."

While Gray's hoping to find work soon, Mike Mackay is looking to help boost those positive job numbers and help the economy.

"It's nice to put people to work, and let them enjoy the fruits of their labor, you bet!" Mackay said.

In June, unemployment in Spokane County dropped from 9 percent in May to 8.8 in June. Regional economists say most of the jobs added in second quarter were in food services, construction, and manufacturing.