[7/5/16] Unemployment Rate Down From Last Month, Up From Last Year

Posted in Business & EconomyTagged ,

For the month of May, the unemployment rate in Chelan and Douglas Counties was 6.5%. That’s down slightly from April’s 6.9% – but local labor economist, Don Meseck says you have to look at the rate year over year.

Last May- in 2015, the unemployment rate was 6.1 – that’s a .4 percent increase…

Meseck says the primary reason is likely the curtailment of Alcoa’s Wenatchee Work’s Smelter. He says it’s no secret the unemployment rate took a jump in the month of January, the same month that plant closed.

But, he adds, the unemployment rate would be much higher were it not for the growth in the civilian labor force.

Year over year, for the month of May, about 17-hundred more people in the work force in Chelan and Douglas Counties. Healthy growth, Meseck says, but still not enough to combat the high unemployment…

The non farm industry, Meseck says, lost in total, 100 jobs between May of last year and May of this year. He says it’s proof, once again, of the unshakable portion the ag industry has of our local economy. An aspect, he says, has its pros and cons…

On top of that, other goods producing industries, namely construction and logging, taking big hits as well- Construction losing about 300 jobs year over year.

Meseck says that’s been the trend for about 9 months…

Which, Meseck says is representative of the entire goods producing industry: mining, logging, construction and manufacturing…

The biggest gains locally were in retail trade – about 400 jobs added year over year there.

Followed by state and local government agencies, education and health services, leisure and hospitality.

Its the trend of the local, state and even national economy- moving away from goods producing and towards service providing..

That shift away from goods producing and towards service providing happened nearly overnight…

Meseck adds that despite the rise in the unemployment rate and the net loss of 100 jobs in the 2-county area, he think residents should be hopeful the economy will pick up in the future.