[9/16/19] Unemployment Rate Moves Higher

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The unemployment rate continues to tick up in Chelan and Douglas Counties, but people are still entering the labor market. That’s according to the latest county data from the State Employment Security Department. For July, the local unemployment rate was four percent, up from 3.2 percent in July last year. The rate of job growth has also slowed – about two percent year-over-year – with about 900 jobs added between this July and last. The state average is 2.5 percent.

More than 500 people entered the labor force in the last year, but that rate is also slowing, said Don Meseck, Regional Labor Economist for North Central Washington.  Most all sectors in the two counties are either up or stable, Meseck said, with health, education and construction each posting about 100 new jobs. Retail continues to decline as stores close and shopping moves more online. Meseck said the manufacturing sector has gained a few jobs in Douglas County over the last few months, but not enough to offset the idling of Alcoa’s smelter in Malaga.