Survey reveals Wash. employers' hiring practices

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Nurses, salespeople and customer service associates were in high demand in Washington last spring, according to the newest report from the state Employment Security Department.

Jobs in health care, retail and accommodation and food services had some of the most vacancies among the 52,000 open positions, the latest update shows.

More than 78 percent of the vacancies were in urban Western Washington, the report said. Findings are detailed in the “2012 Job Vacancy and Hiring Survey Report,” available at http://ubne.ws/QaTilA.

The information comes from a survey of about 11,700 Washington businesses. It measured job vacancies in May and June, as well as external hiring by Washington employers in the first quarter of the year.

Occupations with the most vacancies were in sales, registered nursing and customer service, the report said. Industries with the most vacancies were healthcare and social assistance, with 11,000 job openings; retail trade, with nearly 7,000 vacancies; and accommodation and food services, with about 5,600 available jobs.

According to the survey, Washington employers hired nearly 117,800 new employees into new or existing vacancies from January through March. Employers were asked to count only their external hiring, not internal hires or promotions.

Most of the new hires were farmworkers, retail salespeople or cashiers, the announcement on the report explained. The average statewide starting wage for those hired January though March was $15.45 per hour. That amount was higher in urban areas west of the Cascades, where it was $16.84 per hour. In urban Eastern Washington, it was $12.47 per hour. The average starting wage in rural areas was about the same on both sides of the state: $11.72 on the west side and $11.63 on the east side. On average, employers reported that it took 29 days to fill their vacancies.

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