MOSES LAKE — Unemployment in Grant County dropped faster than the state average in August, September and October. The unemployment rate for October was 4.3 percent, the lowest it’s been in any October in 27 years.
“Between the Octobers of 2016 and 2017, the (unemployment) rate fell one and three-tenths (percentage) points, from 5.6 to 4.3 percent, as the civilian labor force expanded modestly while the number of unemployed residents decreased sharply,” wrote Don Meseck, regional labor economist for the Washington Department of Employment Security.
“For the first seven months of 2017, Grant County’s nonfarm economy continued to grow more slowly than Washington’s economy,” Meseck said. “However, this growth pace quickened in Grant County during August, September and October 2017. Between the Octobers of 2016 and 2017, local nonfarm employment advanced by 4.0 percent, from 29,450 jobs to 30,620 jobs, faster than the 3.2 percent pace across Washington.”
Grant County's unemployment rate has dropped each of the last 13 months, Meseck said, “primarily because the number of unemployed has contracted substantially.” The number of unemployed dropped by 556 people, from 2,585 in October 2016 to 2,029 in October 2017.
Employment increased in almost every category between the Octobers, even in economic sectors that had been lagging. Employment in durable goods manufacturing had been dropping, but it rose 7.1 percent between October 2016 and October 2017, adding 140 jobs.
“Employment in Grant County’s professional and business services industry skyrocketed by 54.4 percent between the Octobers of 2016 and 2017,” Meseck wrote. “Within the professional and business services category, temporary employment services is likely accounting for the lion’s share of this recent employment surge – an encouraging economic indicator.”
The nondurable goods sector did lose jobs, dropping 70 jobs (2.3 percent) between October 2016 and October 2017. The wholesale trade sector also lost jobs, 30 between September and October 2017. The nondurable goods sector lost 280 jobs, 16.9 percent, between October 2016 and October 2017.
The “mining, logging and construction” sector, which in Grant County is mostly construction, gained 10 jobs between the Octobers, a 0.7 percent increase. The education and health services sector also gained jobs in that time period, adding 20 jobs, also a 0.7 percent increase.
There was growth in the government jobs sector as well. “The 230-job and 2.8 percent government upturn in Grant County between the Octobers of 2016 and 2017 was primarily attributable to 190 new jobs in state and local government education.”