Does local economy reflect drop in national unemployment?
SPOKANE, Wash. — The latest jobs report released Friday has some promising signs for the U.S. Economy and for American workers. For the first time in more than six years, the unemployment rate is below six percent. The current level of five-point-nine percent is the lowest since 2008.
But it’s not all good news. The report also shows that only 62.8 percent of Americans are working, the lowest since 1978. Here in Spokane, people looking for jobs say they’re still having problems.
Terry Simmons is an Army veteran with a bachelor’s degree in business. He worked a job in the manufacturing industry for nine years, but was laid off last week and doesn’t see many viable options.
“You have to get work and skills and experience at the same time,” said Simmons. “You may have your skills, but you may not have the experience. You may have the experience, but you may not have the skills.”
Job services in Spokane says not to get discouraged yet.
“We are definitely seeing a stronger employment outlook,” said Christina Vigil-Gross with Manpower Job Services. “More employers do seem to be hiring, and not only hiring but keeping the people. We’ve had a lot more direct hires happening in the last quarter, so that’s good to see.” Especially in accounting, tech and manufacturing.
“I had heard that manufacturing didn’t expect it to grow quite as much, but what we’re seeing locally is there are positions in manufacturing,” said Vigil-Gross.
Simmons, meanwhile, says he doesn’t plan to give up easily.
“I’m a little stressed, little worried, but I’m able to have a positive attitude because I can persevere because I have been laid off before and I’ve got some education,” he said.
The Washington Employment Services Department reports in 2013 they helped more than 5,500 employers with their hiring and training and helped 240,000 Washington residents look for work.