Workforce System Recovery | July Issue

A Message from CEO Mark Mattke

Our regional economy is experiencing signs of the recovery with an increase in the number of jobs and hiring occurring across our industries and many of the workers affected by layoffs have been able to return to the labor force. In a turnaround from the trough of the pandemic-induced recession when there were many more workers than available jobs, businesses are reporting challenges in hiring at all levels and we have transitioned back to a shortage of skilled workers, constraining the pace of our economic growth.

The SWC is working with our Talent Solutions Team to develop strategies that help businesses improve recruiting efforts in this new environment. At WorkSource Spokane, Next Generation Zone, and the Spokane Resource Center, we are also working with job seekers as they ramp up their efforts to rejoin the job market, including supporting the attainment of new skills and credentials at our area educational institutions that enhance their competitiveness and ready them for career advancement. This recession has been unlike any other, and the solutions needed to ensure a robust and equitable economic recovery for everyone in our community will require us to innovate as we strengthen our existing partnerships and build new ones so that we better understand what our businesses and workers are facing and collaborate effectively to deliver what they need to succeed.  

We are stronger, together!

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Community Investment Dashboard

Resource tracking of the SWC’s investments and resources for our community’s recovery.

Community Investment Dashboard graphic

Labor Market Update

Unemployment Claims, Week Ending July 3 | Spokane County

There were 336 initial claims for unemployment insurance, a 31.3% decline from the prior week and a record weekly low since the start of the pandemic. New weekly initial claims for unemployment are returning to a pre-pandemic level of normal churn within the labor market. In the same week, there were also 154 Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) initial claims and 28 Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) initial claims.

Across the three types of unemployment claims, there were 16,086 total continued claims for unemployment in Spokane County. As a trend, total continued claims have been declining for months, and much of the recent decline may be attributed to claimants running out of time allowed on the PEUC extended claims program.

Continued Claims by Type

    • Regular Continued Claims: 4,190 (+10.1% from prior week)
    • PUA Continued Claims: 5,514 (-3.9% from prior week)
    • PEUC Continued Claims: 6,382 (-1.9% from prior week)
Unemployment Continued Claims graphic

Employment, May 2021 | Spokane County

The unemployment rate was recorded at 5.0%, lower than the statewide unemployment rate of 5.3%. Spokane’s unemployment rate has quickly dropped from the historic levels observed during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. As the local economy fully reopens, the jobs and industries that were most impacted by the pandemic are beginning to return. However, the total labor force level continues to remain approximately 5,000 below pre-pandemic levels, indicating that a large number of workers are still considered unemployed or not working. The availability and affordability of childcare has heavily impacted labor force participation rates, specifically for mothers, and without solutions the total labor force may continue at reduced levels.

May 2021 Spokane County Preliminary Employment
(prior month revised data in parenthesis)

 
    • Total labor force: 259,742 (256,486 in April 2021)
    • Total employment: 246,824 (242,337)
    • Total unemployment: 12,918 (14,149)
    • Unemployment rate: 5.0% (5.5%)
Unemployment by County Rates graphic

Job Postings, June 2021 | Spokane County

 

New online job postings continued to increase in the month of April with 9,134 postings, an increase of 5.7% from the previous month. The pent-up demand in the economy is emerging from the heightened levels of new online job postings. However, with the current labor force totals significantly declined from pre-pandemic levels, labor shortages are being felt across the economy. This has led a number of businesses to attract new workers by raising starting wages and/or offer signing bonuses.

New Online Job Postings graphic

New Online Job Postings by Industry | June 2021

  • Healthcare and Social Assistance (1,666 new online job postings)
  • Retail Trade (595)
  • Manufacturing (539)
  • Educational Services (480)
  • Finance and Insurance (439)

New Online Job Postings by Occupation | June 2021

  • Registered Nurse (345 new online job postings)
  • Office / Administrative Assistant (194)
  • Customer Service Representative (193)
  • Sales Representative (189)
  • Laborer / Warehouse Worker (171)
  • Retail Sales Associate (170)
  • Tractor-Trailer Truck Driver (165)
  • Retail Store Manager / Supervisor (134)
  • Production Worker (130)
  • Janitor / Cleaner (118)

Top Jobs by Education Level | Spokane County

Most job postings require applicants have some level of education. The graphic below shows the occupations which had the most online job postings in Spokane County from July 1, 2020 to June 30, 2021, sorted by the specified level of education required in those postings. Of note, the top occupation for both bachelor’s degree and associate’s degree levels of education was Registered Nurse, as local Healthcare and Social Assistance employers hire this occupation at both levels of education depending on specific job duties.

Top Jobs by Education Level graphic

WorkSource Campus Updates

Since our program year began in July of 2020, our dedicated professionals have provided over 46,500 virtual and in-person* services to customers across our campus.

Below is a summary of projects and initiatives currently underway across our campus.

*In-person services were delivered by appointment only starting at the Next Generation Zone and the Spokane Resource Center in February 2021. WorkSource Spokane began in-person appointment-based services in June 2021. WorkSource Spokane Campus staff follow all safety precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

WorkSource Spokane Campus Reopens; Leaders Transition Into New Roles

On June 14, the WorkSource Spokane Campus welcomed back its entire staff to provide in-person services to walk-in customers and appointment-based activities.

The Next Generation Zone and the Spokane Resource Center can assist all walk-in customers seeking employment, training, education, and social services. WorkSource Spokane offers scheduled in-person appointments and limited-capacity workshops, and walk-in use of their Technology Hub & Resource Room. Talent Solutions by WorkSource Spokane will continue to let businesses select their preference of on-site or virtual meetings, but may also host appointments at their business one-stop center.

Visit each one-stop center’s websites to learn more about their hours of operation and the services, resources, and support they provide to the community:

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New Titles, New Faces

Kevin Williams, WorkSource Spokane’s former One-Stop Operator, has transitioned into his new role as Director of WorkSource Systems Advancement and Development. He will oversee the integrated operation of the four one-stop centers that make up the WorkSource Spokane Campus.

Lori Veitenheimer is WorkSource Spokane’s new One-Stop Operator and will continue to advance its award-winning and nationally recognized integrated service delivery model to achieve new levels of customer service.

Jessica Clayton, the SWC’s Program and Development Director, will lead the Next Generation Zone as its Interim Director and continue innovating ways to connect young adults 16-24 years old to develop career pathways through education and training.

Devina Cunningham begins her position as Manager of Talent Solutions by WorkSource Spokane. In addition to the many employer-focused events already established, she will lead her team to develop stronger relationships with the business community to ensure all vacant positions are filled with local talent.

SWC Invited to Pilot National AI-Powered Career Platform

The SWC has been invited to participate in a piloting the development and use of an online platform called Workforce Compass. The platform is an AI-powered career navigation and learning platform in partnership with the National Association of Workforce Boards (NAWB) and FutureFitAI.

Workforce Compass will enable workforce development boards to expand and strengthen their services for job seekers, aggregate national and local learning options on one simplified platform, and access real-time progression and outcomes data. 

The SWC, last year’s NAWB WIOA Trailblazer award winners, will provide the local level perspective through tested strategies and insights to strengthen the platform by responding to common pain points experienced by many career service providers across the nation that use multiple systems to deliver life-changing employment services.

Learn more and download NAWB’s Workforce Compass fact sheets here.

"By integrating with both local and national providers, Workforce Compass is uniquely positioned to help us achieve sustainable, high quality career outcomes for job seekers in our community," said Mark Mattke, CEO of the Spokane Workforce Council. "We are excited to be an inaugural member of an innovative partnership that is poised to unlock the full potential of workforce development boards' service delivery model."

- Mark Mattke, CEO

ESD Recognizes Spokane's WIOA Title I Q3 Performance

The SWC and the WorkSource Spokane Campus was recently recognized by the Employment Security Department (ESD) for their excellent WIOA Title I third-quarter performance (January-March 2020) in helping community members achieve positive outcomes through employment and disaster relief grants.

The SWC would like to thank and congratulate its many workforce partners that serve on the WorkSource Spokane campus and affiliate sites for their outstanding efforts to serve our community’s job seekers and businesses.

Read the full Q3 WIOA Title I recognition letter here.

“The labor market and workforce system have struggled, and yet it's evident your team worked hard to find solutions. Spokane leads the state in enrollment and spending numbers, and we appreciate this significant, noteworthy effort. Integrated service continues to lead to successes."

- Tim Probst, ESD Grants Director

KHQ Promotes WorkSource Spokane Services and Customer Success Stories

Customers Jason Harvey and Second Harvest were recently highlighted during KHQ’s prime time news broadcast on Thursday, July 8, by reporting the success both have achieved when using WorkSource Spokane services. Also during the broadcast, WorkSource Spokane career coaches staffed KHQ’s Connect Center phone bank and provided information to community job seekers about how to locate and secure immediate job openings.

Click here to view the full story.

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Let's Collaborate!

If you know a job seeker that just re-entered the workforce or you represent a business that has utilized our recruitment and retention services, please contact Victor Rapez-Betty, our Communications Manager, to begin storyboarding the success video, article, or social media post.

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