Grant County unemployment drops in November

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Washington State Employment Security Department

MOSES LAKE — Unemployment in Grant County rose between October and November 2017, but is still almost two percentage points below the November 2016 employment rate.

Unemployment was 5.4 percent in Grant County in November 2017, down from 7.3 percent in November 2016. However, that’s higher than the 4.3 percent unemployment in October 2017.

“(Grant County’s) unemployment rate has been declining for the past 14 months. Why? Primarily because the number of unemployed has been contracting substantially,” wrote Don Meseck, regional labor economist for the Washington Department of Employment Security.

“In November 2017 there were 781 fewer Grant County residents out of work than in November 2016, down 24.8 percent. The November 2017 unemployment rate of 5.4 percent is the lowest reading for November since electronic records were implemented 27 years ago.”

The unemployment rate in Grant County had been dropping more slowly than the statewide rate for the first seven months of 2017, Meseck said. “However, the local nonfarm market has grown more rapidly than Washington’s nonfarm (labor) market for the past four months, August through November 2017.” The county’s unemployment rate has declined from October 2016 to November 2017, Meseck said.

The biggest jump in employment was in the professional and business class, which added 910 jobs between November 2016 and November 2017, an increase of 57.6 percent. Employment rose 1.6 percent in the “mining, logging and construction” sector, which are construction jobs in Grant County.

Retail trade gained 110 jobs between the Novembers, an increase of 3.2 percent. But wholesale trade lost 230 jobs, a decrease of 14.3 percent.

Durable goods manufacturing rose 5.1 percent year-over-year, the fifth consecutive month of year-over-year gains. “Between the Novembers of 2016 and 2017, durable goods manufacturing increased 5.1 percent, a 100-job upturn, from 1,960 to 2.060 jobs." But that may not last, with the news Jan. 4 that the Takata corporation laid off 60 to 65 workers at its Moses Lake facility.

In Grant County, non-durable goods manufacturing mostly is food processing. The non-durable goods manufacturing sector “netted 220 fewer jobs in November 2017, 2,740 jobs, than in November 2016, 2,960 jobs, a 7.4 percent downturn.”

Cheryl Schweizer can be reached via email at education@columbiabasinherald.com.

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