Advertising

The Seattle Times Company

NWjobs | NWautos | NWhomes | NWsource | Free Classifieds | seattletimes.com

Local News


Our network sites seattletimes.com | Advanced

Originally published March 18, 2009 at 12:00 AM | Page modified March 18, 2009 at 12:37 AM

Comments (0)     E-mail E-mail article      Print Print      Share Share

Snohomish County jobless numbers: "a crisis"

Snohomish County, already reeling from the steep drop in construction activity and plummeting tax revenue, got more bad news Tuesday: New unemployment numbers show that job losses have more than doubled from a year ago.

Seattle Times Snohomish County reporter

Snohomish County, already reeling from the steep drop in construction activity and plummeting tax revenue, got more bad news Tuesday: New unemployment numbers show that job losses have more than doubled from a year ago.

Unemployment in Snohomish County reached 9.9 percent, its highest rate in 25 years, according to the state Employment Security Department. The last time the jobless rate was that high was in April 1984, when it hit 10.1 percent. Boeing, which has a huge plant in Everett, had lost 20,000 jobs the previous four years and the region was in the midst of a recession.

The unemployment news underlined the deepening financial crisis in the county, where more county and some city workers may face layoffs as sales-tax and real-estate excise-tax revenues continue to plummet.

"We've got a crisis of historic proportions," said County Councilman Brian Sullivan, finance committee chairman. "We need to jump on this now."

The county cut 160 positions in December to make up a $21 million budget shortfall. Sullivan said the council could consider additional layoffs, closing county offices one day a week and voluntary furloughs. Sullivan said that new projections by the council staff show sales tax revenues down $4 million and real-estate excise taxes off by $2 million.

County Executive Aaron Reardon said his finance staff members estimated a budget shortfall of $6.75 million. He met Tuesday and plans to meet again today with county elected officials to discuss potential cost savings to the $200 million general-fund budget. He said he plans to make his recommendations to the council on Tuesday.

"I don't think it can wait. We need to take immediate action," Reardon said.

Tax revenues for the county's cities also have plummeted. Lynnwood, which gets about 50 percent of its general-fund budget from sales tax, saw a drop of nearly 7 percent — or $1.3 million — in 2008 compared with 2007, said finance director John Moir.

Moir said the city likely will defer some capital projects and reduce its work force through attrition.

"We don't want to go to the layoff word," he said.

Edmonds, which has cut more than $2 million in spending since 2003, expects to lose an additional $1 million in revenues in 2009.

Mayor Gary Haakenson has proposed cuts to the police reserve and DARE programs, closure of Yost Pool for the summer and elimination of the city's contribution to its flower program. The beautification program would be funded through 2009 by an existing donation fund.

Haakenson also plans to meet with the city's labor unions this week to discuss furloughs, layoffs and possible pay cuts. The Edmonds City Council could propose alternative cost-saving measures in the coming weeks.

Lynn Thompson: 206-464-8305

Copyright © 2009 The Seattle Times Company

More Local News headlines...

E-mail E-mail article      Print Print      Share Share

Comments
No comments have been posted to this article.

advertising


Get home delivery today!

More Local News

UPDATE - 09:46 AM
Exxon Mobil wins ruling in Alaska oil spill case

NEW - 7:51 AM
Longview man says he was tortured with hot knife

Longview man says he was tortured with hot knife

Longview mill spills bleach into Columbia River

NEW - 8:00 AM
More extensive TSA searches in Sea-Tac Airport rattle some travelers

Advertising

Video

Marketplace

Advertising