March 21–WENATCHEE — Construction unhampered by a mostly mild winter joined with busy retail, tourism and warehousing to help shrink the unemployment rate for Chelan and Douglas counties in January.
The January jobless rate in the two-county area fell to 7.1 percent, a 0.7 drop from the same month last year, according to county job reports released Tuesday by the state Employment Security Department.
The 7.1 percent rate is the lowest reading for January in Chelan and Douglas counties since electronic records began in 1990. Jobless rates in the two counties have now declined for 16 straight months (since October 2016).
“That’s excellent economic news for the area,” said state Regional Labor Economist Don Meseck.
Construction led all sectors with a 19 percent gain (400 jobs) over January 2017 from both residential developments and commercial building projects currently underway. Warehousing and trucking, mostly in the fruit industry, also showed strong gains of 6.3 percent (600 jobs).
Closely behind were tourism with 4.8 percent gain (300 jobs) over January of last year, and health care with A 4.2 percent rise (300 jobs).
Only government hiring showed a decline for the month, noted Meseck. State government jobs were down 15.4 percent (200 jobs) and federal jobs slid 12.5 percent (100 jobs).
JOBLESS RATES IN DECEMBER
Chelan-Douglas counties January 2017: 7.8 percent
Chelan-Douglas counties January 2018: 7.1 percent
Statewide January 2018: 5.6 percent
Nationwide January 2018: 4.1 percent
JOB SECTORS GROWING IN JANUARY
Construction up 19 percent (400 jobs)
Warehousing and trucking up 6.3 percent (600 jobs)
Tourism up 4.8 percent (300 jobs)
Health care up 4.2 percent (300 jobs)
Retail up 3.4 percent (200 jobs)
JOB SECTORS DECLINING OR FLAT IN JANUARY
State government down 15.4 percent (200 jobs)
Federal government down 12.5 percent (100 jobs)
Manufacturing flat with no change year-over-year
Reach Mike Irwin at 509-665-1179 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Read his blog Everyday Business. follow him on Twitter at @MikeIrwinWW.
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