WENATCHEE — More people are working this year than last year, but the number of new jobs being created has slowed, leading to mixed economic news for Chelan and Douglas counties.
The region had 900 more nonfarm jobs in July 2019 than July 2018, according to the latest Labor Area Summary report released Friday.
The 1.9% increase is down from the 2.9% increase from 2017 to 2018, which was ahead of the state’s growth rate at that time.
This year, not so much, said Don Meseck, the state’s regional labor economist who analyzes the monthly job statistics from the state Employment Security Department.
“Less robust,” is how he describes the growth rate for July, lagging behind the state's continued 2.5% expansion. But it’s not all bad.
“Before a weather-related downturn in job growth this March, the local nonfarm market either stabilized, or added jobs, for 82 consecutive months (May 2012-February 2019) and this expansion has resumed in each of the past four months (April through July)," he said.
The number of people living here and looking for work also grew, resulting in an increase in the unemployment rate to 4%, up from last year's 3.2%.
The number of unemployed in the two-county region this July climbed by 657, for a total of 3,197, while the labor force expanded by 525 people to 79,626. The jobless rate is still relatively low, looking at the 10-year average, Meseck said, but the rate has been creeping upward during each of the past eight months, which could be a concern.
The August report is expected Sept. 24.
Job sectors growing in July
- Construction: Up 3.2% (100 jobs)
- Manufacturing: Up 7.7% (100 jobs)
Job sectors declining in July
- Retail down 3.1% (200 jobs)
- Trade, transportation, warehousing down 2.8% (300 jobs)
- Leisure, hospitality down 1.4% (100 jobs)