[5/4/21] Jobless Rate Down in Chelan and Douglas Counties
State officials see a good sign in the latest unemployment numbers.
The latest numbers for Chelan and Douglas counties released Friday show a jobless rate of 5.9 percent. That’s down from the February rate of 7-point-1 percent, and the 6-point-6 percent recorded last March.
State regional economist Don Meseck says the jobless rate alone doesn’t signal a big step forward for the economy, but it’s a good sign.
The region saw an increase in its labor force and fewer people out of work in March, compared to the previous year, but the area is still down 1,600 jobs overall compared to March 2020.
All industry sectors reported either the same or more jobs in March compared to February, a boost of 1,481 jobs total. In year-over-year comparisons, this March, retail trade grew by 100 jobs, to 6,300 total, the only industry sector to add jobs.
In other sectors, job losses slowed. Construction jobs, one of the leading economic drivers, were even, providing about 2,800 jobs both this March and last March.
Leisure and hospitality continues to be hard hit from pandemic-related layoffs, down 13.1% this March compared to March 2020.
But Meseck said ‘The common thread here … is that the trend is moving in the right direction.”