Issue 8 | June 3, 2020
Stronger Together Spokane:
Workforce System Response to COVID-19
Overall, the regional labor market is showing some signs of moving in a positive direction. As the data below indicate, fewer people are applying for unemployment benefits and an increased number are returning to work. That’s the good news. However, record numbers of businesses and workers are still being negatively impacted by this ongoing crisis. To tackle this, our Talent Solutions Team is working to identify challenges faced by small businesses and offering innovative solutions that help them move closer to opening their doors again. WorkSource staff continue to expand their menu of services available remotely and connect job seekers to career opportunities with businesses that are hiring. As the crisis persists, we are also working with community partners to help individuals and families whose budgets are strained to access needed resources, including food and housing assistance, and to obtain the training they need to compete in the job market and land a good job. We will continue to closely monitor the local economy and work with our partners to develop effective strategies and make meaningful investments in these recovery efforts.
We are Stronger Together Spokane .

Mark Mattke
Chief Executive Officer
Labor Market Update
As Spokane County has moved into Phase 2 of the state’s reopening plan, initial claims for unemployment insurance decreased sharply to the lowest level since the COVID-19 impact began. However, this level of weekly initial claims would still be historic compared to prior years. A number of factors lead to the decrease in new claims, including the phased reopening of some parts of the Spokane economy, many industries having already completed the majority of layoffs that they currently plan to make, and a successful effort by Employment Security Department to identify and reduce fraudulent unemployment claims. While we are encouraged by the direction the initial claims have taken, tens of thousands of workers in Spokane County remain unemployed, with much of the unemployment concentrated in a few industries.
Continued claims for unemployment insurance decreased by 5,838 claims in the week ending May 23, for a total of 30,274 continued claims paid in Spokane County. In every single industry category, total continued claims decreased from the week prior. The industries with the highest total of continued claims are Accommodation and Food Services, Health Care and Social Assistance, and Retail Trade.

Note: Continued claims for unemployment insurance only include regular unemployment claims and do not capture additional Pandemic Unemployment claims.
New weekly online job postings increased in the week ending May 30, with 890 new online job postings in Spokane County. Health Care and Social Assistance accounted for the most new job postings with 157, Retail Trade had 100 new postings, and Manufacturing had 63 new online job postings in the past week. The employers who posted the most new online job postings in the week ending May 30 were:
  • Providence Health & Services (13 new online job postings)
  • Yoke’s Fresh Market (11)
  • Spokane Public Schools (11)
  • Northern Quest Casino (9)
  • Lowe’s (9)
  • Scafco Corporation (8)
  • MultiCare Health (8)
  • Amazon (8)
  • TNG Retail Services (7)
  • ResCare (6)

Note: This analytic identifies the number of new unique online job postings. An employer may be hiring multiple workers for a single job posting.

Data Sources: Washington State Employment Security Department/LMEA, and Burning Glass Labor Insights
Workforce Services Update
While we have not yet been able to reopen our WorkSource Campus for in-person services, we remain committed to serving the community virtually. Since closing in mid-March, the tireless staff of the Spokane WorkSource Campus have served 10,540 job-seeking customers and 685 businesses. Highlights from this past week include:
The Talent Solutions Team is supporting businesses in the process of reopening by creating Spokane-centric and industry-specific return-to-work guides. Recognizing that many companies are still working remotely, the team has also created virtual tutorials for conducting business remotely, including: tips for moving your business online; Zoom trainings; and information about recruiting, hiring, and managing remotely. One-on-one business consulting is also available for any business that wants additional help in gaining a competitive edge in today's online world. Visit the virtual offerings page to learn more.
"I was so impressed by the way the team really listened to our goals and challenges and partnered with us in finding the next steps to help us move forward."
- Local Business
WorkSource is finalizing a new virtual offering for people who have lost their jobs due to business closures and are interested in starting their own businesses. This online two-week course is focused on teaching the entrepreneurial mindset that is so valuable in starting your own business. The planned launch date for this new course is June 8. Check for updates.
"They are a really great place and I would not be where I am without your help."
- WorkSource/SRC Customer
The creative staff members of the Next Generation Zone continue to prototype ways they can better assist young adults in this new economy. Some recent highlights include:
  • Purchasing technology that can be checked out by students in need, such as computers and wifi hotspots.
  • Assisting students with obtaining internships, both virtual and in-person. Four new internships are starting within the week!
  • Launching a "Student Art Blog" page on their virtual classroom website to help foster a sense of community for students studying remotely. Students now have a place to share their artistic talents. This aligns with what students are sharing across the nation about needing extra activities in an online academic platform to bring a sense of normality to their lives. Click here to see our students' art!
  • All this amazing work has garnered national attention, with one specific project - the Youth Ambassador program - to be recognized in a blog by the National Youth Employment Coalition in the coming days.
"I'm really loving the education I'm receiving, and I like how deep they go into it! Thank you so much..."
- Student in CNA training who recently obtained employment