Jobs edge up in Island County

The rate of joblessness for Island County mirrored the state’s unemployment rate and remained unchanged last month, according to the state Employment Security Department.

The unemployment rate in the county, not seasonally adjusted, was 9.1 percent in April, which was the same as March. The state’s seasonally adjusted rate was also 9.1 percent, the same as the revised rate for March.

But the news was even better for the county than the state. While the state shed thousands of jobs last month, the number of jobs in Island County actually increased by 150, according to Joe Giannamore, a regional labor economist with the state Employment Security Department.

“The county did a little better than the state as a whole,” Giannamore said.

Most of the new jobs, Giannamore said, were in the federal government and retail trade sectors. The unemployment rate does not include military personnel.

Giannamore said the 30 new jobs in retail is an especially hopeful sign.

“It could indicate that maybe consumer spending is increasing,” he said.

Yet Giannamore cautions that the one-month leveling off doesn’t mean the recession is over or that unemployment won’t increase in coming months.

“It’s hard to say what’s going to happen at this point,” he said. “The best I can say is we’re uncertain about what’s going to happen over the next few months.”

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