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Tourism, retail gains help shrink May jobless rate

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The swimming area at Lake Chelan State Park.

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WENATCHEE — More jobs in retail and tourism helped shrink unemployment in Chelan and Douglas counties in May, the 22nd month of year-to-year gains.

The May jobless rate for two counties fell to 8 percent, down 0.9 percent from the same month one year ago. County job figures from the state Employment Security Department were released Tuesday.

The state jobless rate in May fell to 6.8 percent from 8.4 percent in May 2012, while the national rate fell 0.6 percentage points from one year ago to hit 7.6 percent.

Chelan and Douglas counties’ retail and tourism sectors each gained about 200 jobs for the month as the summer vacation season approached, said State Regional Labor Economist Don Meseck in Yakima.

Other sectors showing gains in May were the broad category of private services with a 2.8 percent jump (700 jobs) and manufacturing with 4.2 percent increase (100 jobs).

The largest losses continued to come from government jobs, where an 11.1 percent decline shrank the two-county’s federal workforce by around 100 jobs.

Jobless reports for Okanogan and Grant counties are expected to be released in the next few days.

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