Although it is smaller by magnitudes, eastern Washington is seeing similar trends in new jobs and technology connections to areas west of the Cascades, according to reports today at a statewide symposium held in Tumwater.

The urban communities of Spokane, Tri-Cities and Walla Walla, for example, have added 50,000 net jobs after the recovery from Great Recession, according to regional economist Doug Tweedy of the state Employment Security Department. And many of these new jobs related to technology a tools to the basic industrial sectors of agriculture, healthcare, education and manufacturing.

Indeed, in recent years, eastern Washington has seen an actual growth in manufacturing jobs, unlike the loss of same in Puget Sound and adjacent counties. Mason, Lewis, Grays Harbor and Pacific counties are not yet showing full recoveries from pre-2008 levels, either in numbers of jobs or earnings. ESD economist Scott Bailey noted Pierce County has seen 3.7 percent jobs growth year-over-year. With recent years acceleration, the number jobs in metro Tacoma is today approximately 10 percent above the employment level from 2008.