State, local cities among nation's worst in job growth

Puget Sound Business Journal


The economies of Washington state and two of its three largest cities were among the weakest in the nation earlier this fall, according to a monthly job-growth report published by Arizona State University.

Among the 50 states, Washington in October ranked 45th when its economy was measured by the growth in nonfarm jobs, according to a new report by ASU's Bank One Economic Outlook Center. The state's nonfarm work force shrank 1.34 percent to 2.6 million between October 2002 and October 2001.

By comparison, the work force in No. 1-ranked Nevada grew 2.85 percent to 1 million, while No. 50-ranked Georgia lost 2.2 percent of its jobs, leaving the state with 3.8 million.

Signs of a wobbly economy were apparent throughout the country, however, with 16 states reporting job growth and 34 states experiencing job losses, the Outlook Center's data show.

Washington was dead last when the 50 states were ranked according to changes in factory jobs, no doubt a reflection of layoffs at Boeing Commercial Airplanes Group. The state's manufacturing work force sank 8.74 percent to 305,800 from October to October.

Cities with the sickest economies nationwide included two of Washington's three largest urban areas: the Seattle metro area and Spokane, according to the Outlook Center report.

The Seattle-Bellevue-Everett market shed 2.79 percent of its jobs from October to October, leaving the region with 1.3 million jobs. When ranked by job growth, the Seattle metro area was No. 284 out of 292 U.S. cities.

Spokane fared even worse. Eastern Washington's leading city was ranked No. 287, with its work force declining 2.91 percent to 193,400, according to the Outlook Center.

Of Washington's three largest cities, only Tacoma gained jobs. The city's work force grew 1.88 percent to 249,600, putting Tacoma among the top 20 cities nationwide with fewer than 1 million workers.


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