[7/23/21] Unemployment Down In May
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.