December unemployment down from December 2016

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YAKIMA — Unemployment rose between November and December 2017, but December unemployment was 1.5 percentage points below December 2016. Grant County’s unemployment rate in December 2017 was 8.1 percent, down from 9.6 percent in December 2016.

Unemployment rose between November and December 2017. November unemployment was 5.3 percent. Typically Grant County unemployment rises in November and December, hits its peak in January and drops to its low point in September and October.

In December, “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.

The county’s economy added 550 new nonfarm jobs, an increase of 1.9 percent, Meseck wrote. “Estimates indicate the Grant County job market picked up the pace and expanded more rapidly in the second half of 2017 than the first half. Between the Decembers of 2016 and 2017, local nonfarm employment advanced by 2.3 percent, from 28,630 jobs to 29,290 jobs.”

The county’s civilian labor force “finished 2017 on a strong note, expanding year over year from July through December 2017. Even more positive news is the fact the number of unemployed residents had been shrinking at a strong page. In December 2017 there were 558 fewer Grant County residents out of work than in December 2016, a significant 13.8 percent downturn.”

Durable goods manufacturing “has posed year-over-year gains for the past 8 months, May through December 2017. Between the Decembers of 2016 and 2017, durable goods manufacturing increased 7.6 percent, a 150-job upturn, from 1,970 to 2,120 jobs.”

The professional and business services industry added 580 jobs between December 2016 and December 2017, Meseck said, a 34.1 percent increase. “Job growth in this industry accounted for 87.9 percent of total nonfarm job growth between the Decembers of 2016 and 2017.”

The non-durable goods sector lost 30 jobs between December 2016 and December 2017, and lost about 20 jobs during 2017. In Grant County, non-durable goods manufacturing jobs mostly are in food processing.

The “mining, logging and construction” industry lost about 40 jobs between December 2016 and December 2018. In Grant County jobs in that sector are in the construction industry.

The wholesale trade sector lost 230 jobs between the Decembers, a 14.4 percent drop.

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

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