Spokane County economy adding more jobs

SPOKANE, Wash. - The first national jobs report during President Trump's presidency is out, and things are looking up.

The Bureau of Labor's report says the US economy added 235,000 jobs in February and the unemployment rate fell from 4.8 to 4.7 percent.

Timothy Thomas was at WorkSource Friday on the hunt for a new job in construction.

"I've been unemployed for seven years since I went to prison," he said.

He's doing a program at WorkSource to help get back on his feet.

"It teaches you how to do the job search which is resumes, cover letters, the market, dress code," he explained.

And, now is the perfect time to be looking.

While Spokane County's February numbers won't be available until next week, regional labor economist Doug Tweedy says we're on an upward trend.

"[Spokane County added] 7,600 jobs last year," he said. "This year, we're expecting comparable numbers and so if people are looking for work, now is a good time to be looking."

In the first six months of 2016, Spokane County's unemployment rate was about 6.7 percent, higher than the national rate, according to a report Tweedy published in September 2016.

But since 2010, Spokane County has gained about 20,000 new jobs in multiple industries including transportation, manufacturing, construction, and healthcare.

"I was laid off in October and I've been looking ever since," explained Lolita Perreira, who is trying to get back into the medical industry.

She comes to WorkSource a few times a week.

"I was the last man on the totem pole, I got let go," she explained, "because they didn't have enough hours to compensate the work and the pay."

But she's confident she'll find something soon.

"I'm hoping within the next month I would think," she said.

"We're talking about increases in jobs, but not all jobs are created equal. The jobs that the economy in Spokane is creating are good jobs. They're paying better than the average for all jobs."

And that's good news for Timothy, who hopes to soon have one of those jobs to call his own.

Tweedy also explained while there are opportunities out there, people need to be aware and plugged in, and says WorkSource is a great resource for people searching for jobs.