Published January 2001

County jobless rate drops, statewide figure jumps

By Mike Benbow
Herald Economy Editor

The number of people without a job in Snohomish County decreased slightly in November, despite a big jump in the jobless rate for the state as a whole.

November unemployment in the county was 3.5 percent, down one-tenth of a percentage point from the revised figure for October of 3.6 percent, according to the state Employment Security Department.

By comparison, the jobless rate statewide was 4.9 percent, up significantly from October’s 4.5 percent.

Donna Thompson, Snohomish County labor economist for employment security, said the relative job strength here was due to three factors: a bottoming out of Boeing layoffs, the job stability of Naval Station Everett and proximity to King County’s hot job market.

The county actually added 100 aerospace jobs in November, bringing the estimated total to 31,600. That’s down 700 jobs from 32,300 jobs for the industry last year at this time.

“This number is expected to rise next year when Boeing will begin hiring back several hundred employees to work at the Everett plant,” Thompson wrote in a county labor summary released last month.

The jobless rate means that out of a labor force of 345,200, at least 12,200 people were out of work.

Snohomish County added 1,200 jobs overall in November, many retail sales positions just for the Christmas season. Service jobs were up by 600 locally, and schools added 300 positions.

The county lost 600 construction jobs in November, but remains 800 above the figure for November 1999.

Thompson also noted that some business closures this month will temper recent job gains.

The Enterprise Lumber Mill in Arlington will close and eliminate 167 jobs because of the high cost of logs. And Flextronics Enclosures in Bothell, which makes enclosures for cell-phone towers, also will shut down in the new year, laying off 74 people.

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