[7/23/21] Unemployment Down In May

Posted in Business & Economy

The number of people working in Chelan and Douglas Counties went up in May, as employment returns to more normal levels. 

Nonfarm employment in the Wenatchee Metropolitan Statistical Area – which means Chelan and Douglas Counties – increased by 11 percent between May of 2020 and May 2021.  The unemployment rate decreased from its COVID-influenced rate of 12-point-3 percent in May of last year to 5-point-3 percent this May.  But Regional Labor Economist Don Meseck says the latest report has good news and some not-so-good news:

Once a year, the state releases employment data in the agriculture category – this means people working on farms and in the orchard, in irrigation and such.  And Meseck says those numbers are going down in Chelan County:

The state reports says anecdotal evidence indicates that more agricultural workers are being hired into full-time year-round positions (with relatively fewer hires into part-time/seasonal positions); plus automation in the picking, packing, and sorting of fresh fruit and vegetables appears to have reduced the need for labor.