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Grant County jobless rate improves as ag workforce grows

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YAKIMA — A steep spike in seasonal ag workers and gains in related industries helped push Grant County’s unemployment rate down to 7.9 percent in June, a 0.2 percent drop from one year ago.

Much of the improvement came from a jump of 2,150 ag jobs over last year, when cool temperatures delayed fruit harvests, and ongoing packing and trucking from a harvest that stretched last year into late October.

The state Employment Security Department released Grant County job numbers Monday. Chelan and Douglas county numbers were released last week, and Okanogan County numbers are expected Aug. 9.

Sectors showing gains were packing and trucking (280 jobs) and manufacturing (10 jobs), mostly on the strength of an expansion by 50-employee Aviation Technical Services to Moses Lake from Everett.

Most other sectors were flat or in decline, with data center employment falling 3.4 percent (40 jobs) from June 2012.

Reach Mike Irwin at 509-665-1179 or . Read his blog Everyday Business. follow him on Twitter at @MikeIrwinWW.