Unemployment up in June

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MOSES LAKE — Turmoil in Grant County’s manufacturing sector led to a slight increase in the unemployment rate in June 2018, when compared with June 2017. Unemployment was 5.1 percent in June 2018, compared to 4.9 percent in June 2017.

“Unemployment rates have begun to rise during the past four months,” when measured year-over-year, wrote Don Meseck, regional labor economist for the Washington Department of Employment Security. “The civilian labor force grew modestly while the number of unemployed increased sharply.”

Non-farm unemployment did drop a full percentage point between May and June 2018, from 6.1 percent in May. Traditionally unemployment in Grant County drops to its lowest point in September and October and peaks in January and February.

“There were 190 more residents out of work in June 2018 than (in) June 2017 across Grant County,” Meseck wrote. The county’s durable goods sector lost 190 jobs when June 2018 is compared with June 2017. The June data includes jobs lost at the Takata facility in Moses Lake. The company has since been sold. The durable goods sector posted job losses every month between January and June.

The healthcare sector, on the other hand, has been hiring. “Education and health services, primarily private health service providers, netted 190 more jobs in June 2018 than June 2017. Year over year, Grant County’s private education and health services industry has been adding workers for the past 12 months, July 2017 through June 2018,” Meseck wrote. “In fact, in the past six months the job growth pace in health services has been faster in Grant County than across Washington.”

The county’s “information and financial activities” sector also added jobs between June 2017 and June 2018, expanding by 70 jobs, a 6.4 percent increase. The retail trade sector also expanded by 80 jobs.

But the construction, nondurable goods and professional and business services sectors all saw job losses. “Employment in Grant County’s professional and business services sector has been declining for the last seven months,” Meseck wrote. “Within professional and business services, temporary employment services likely is accounting for much of this employment downturn.” The industry lost 220 jobs between the Junes of 2017 and 2018.

Farm employment is measured on a 10-year average, and data for the period 2007 to 2017 shows farm employment increased. “The number of agricultural jobs increased from 8,362 in 2007 to 10,243 in 2017, a 1,881-job and 22.5 percent uptrend.” Agriculture as a share of total covered employment rose from 23.9 percent to 26.1 percent in the decade.

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