[9/13/16] Unemployment Numbers For Chelan And Douglas County Show Slight Rise

Posted in Business & Economy

The latest jobs numbers in Chelan and Douglas Counties, known as the Wenatchee Metropolitan Statistical Area for the month of July- were released last week.

The unemployment rate rose to five percent in July from 4.4 percent in July of last year. In fact, Every month so far this year has seen an increase in the unemployment rate over its corresponding month in 2015.

Regional Labor Economist with the state Don Meseck says it’s because the number of people without work is rising faster than the number of people joining the work force…

091216 Job Numbers 1 :42 “…compared to July 2015.”

Meseck said the data shows job growth in the non-farm sector is “lethargic” and the agricultural industry is bolstering the local economy, much as it always has. The other factor is the idling of Alcoa’s aluminum smelter in Malaga. More than 400 workers lost their jobs there in January.

Manufacturing and construction are the top two job losers in the two-county area this year. They were down another hundred jobs respectively between the Julys of this year and last. Meseck said that’s actually an improvement from previous months though…

091216 Job Numbers 2 1:00 “…it’s been rather sluggish.”

Another sector that lost jobs in July was state government, about one hundred jobs. But Meseck said that’s not a bad thing…

091216 Job Numbers 3 :34 “…that’s a 7.7 percent dip.”

Industries that gained jobs this July include local government, transportation and trade, leisure and hospitality, education and, the big one – health services. Private health services increased 400 jobs year-over-year, a six percent increase…

091216 Job Numbers 4 :20 “…definitely good news.”

However a lack of housing, especially in the Wenatchee area, has limited health providers’ hiring power, because potential employees don’t have a place to live here should they take a job here. Meseck said that could prove to be an economic road block for the area.

Meseck said the data for Chelan and Douglas counties reflects similar trends in other central and eastern Washington counties.

091216 Job Numbers 5 :33 “…unemployment data as well.”

Meseck added any job growth is positive, the shadow over it being its very slow rate of growth. He said the two-county area has a strong labor force, the number of people unemployed or leaving the work force just needs to slow below the rate of people entering the local work force.