Tri-Cities economy shows stability, growth and expansion

By Ajsa Suljic, Regional Labor Economist
Tel: 509-734-5928 or email:


2015 Economic Symposium – Washington’s workforce needs: Economist and employer perspectives in today’s labor market


The eonomic symposium logoIn today’s labor market, data are more important than ever. Join the Labor Market & Performance Analysis Division of the Washington State Employment Security Department at the 2015 Olympia Economic Symposium on Oct. 29 to learn about the state of Washington’s labor market, occupational projections and more.

On the agenda:

  • A featured panel of employers will share perspectives on workforce needs.
  • State economists will reveal the gap in comparing real-time employer demand, occupational projections and the labor supply.
  • We’ll give a sneak peak of our new and improved website.


The event starts at 1 p.m. on the first floor auditorium of the Department of Social and Health Services OB2 Building on the capitol campus.

Register online by Oct. 28 to reserve your seat. Registration is free, but seating is limited. For more information, call 360-407-4541.

Honoring 25 years of the Americans with Disabilities Act

By Felicia Wright, Employment Security Human Resources

Employment Security is an equal opportunity employer and provider of employment services. It also is home to the Governor’s Committee for Disability Issues and Employment.

I sat in a class recently and noticed my friend and colleague (let’s call her Jean) sitting on the other side of the room, squinting at slides our instructor was showing. Jean has a vision disability. Seeing her struggle to read, I got up, walked to the light switch and turned up the lights on her side of the room.

During our break, Jean was clearly upset. Then, she really let me have it. She does not want to be treated differently because she has low-vision disability, she said. How dare I treat her as if she is helpless! She can turn up the lights herself, she said.

This was an embarrassing but enlightening moment for me. I learned never to make assumptions about people or their disabilities. I don’t assume what someone wants, what he or she feels, or what is best for him or her.

Now, if I have a question about how to help, what language or terminology to use, or what assistance to offer, I ask. The person you want to help should be your first and best resource. People with disabilities have different preferences. Just because one person with a disability prefers something one way doesn’t mean that another person with a disability prefers it the same way.
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WorkSource Spokane adapts after the Great Recession

WorkSource Spokane staffing levels and office space are both stable after recent downsizing of both, said Journal of Business reporter Linn Parish in a July 16 story.

As the unemployment rate in Spokane County — currently at 6.3 percent — continues its decline after the Great Recession, the mix of customers also has changed in the last five years, Parish reported after an interview with WorkSource Spokane Administrator Michelle Sanchez.

“Sanchez says that in 2010, WorkSource Spokane assisted 27,000 job seekers and 6,000 potential employers. So far this year, the agency has helped about 5,000 people looking for work and 14,500 employers,” wrote Parish.

Read the entire story in the Spokane Journal of Business.

Labor area summary for Benton and Franklin counties – May 2015

By Ajsa Suljic, Employment Security’s labor economist covering Benton, Franklin, Walla Walla, Columbia, Garfield and Asotin counties

Each month, the Employment Security Department releases statewide and county employment and unemployment data for the previous month. Find more labor-market data and analysis on the Employment Security website.

In the Kennewick-Pasco-Richland Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA), which equals Benton and Franklin counties, May’s preliminary numbers show growth in nonfarm employment reached 107,200 jobs, up by 1.0 percent from April and up by 3.0 percent from the same time last year.

The unemployment rate was at 6.7, which is up from the revised 6.5 percent in April. The Benton County rate was 6.6 percent and the Franklin County rate was 7.2 percent.The major driver of the rate increase was growth in the labor force 1.9 percent, or 2,400 workers.  Monthly nonfarm job gains were recorded in many industries, including construction, transportation and utilities, educational and health services, leisure and hospitality, and state and local government.

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