Unemployment down from March in Grant County But higher when 2018 is compared to 2017

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MOSES LAKE — Unemployment in Grant County went down between March and April, but went up when April 2018 is compared with April 2017.

The unemployment rate for April 2018 was 6.4 percent, less than the 7.9 percent in March 2018 but more than the 5.9 percent of April 2017. “Monthly unemployment rates had fallen, year over year, from September 2016 through February 2018,” wrote Don Meseck, regional labor economist for the Washington Employment Security Department. “However, unemployment began creeping upwards during the past two months. The civilian labor force stagnated while the number of unemployed residents increased.”

But for Grant County, 6.4 percent unemployment is still pretty good. “For Grant County in the month of April, unemployment rates in the vicinity of six percent are still low. In fact, the last time an April unemployment rate for the county was in this range was in April 2008, 10 years ago.”

There was good news in the education and health services sector, which in Grant County primarily is private health service providers. That economic sector “netted 170 more jobs in April 2018 than April 2017, an advance of 6.1 percent.” The industry “has been adding workers for the past 10 months. In fact, in the past four months the job growth pace in health services has been faster in Grant County than across Washington.”

Many sectors of the county’s economy lost jobs, with the exceptions of retail trade, information and financial activities, and state and local government. Some sectors lost less than others – the construction industry lost 10 jobs between the Aprils, and so did the transportation and warehousing sector.

The non-durable goods manufacturing sector stayed the same when April 2018 was compared with April 2017. But durable goods manufacturing “has posted year-over-year losses for the past four months, January through April 2018. Between the Aprils of 2017 and 2018 this industry slipped by 90 jobs.” That follows the state trend. Durable goods manufacturing has dropped statewide since December 2015.

Professional and business services was up in 2017 and is down in the first four months of 2018, providing 540 fewer jobs in Grant County in April 2018 than April 2017. “This is a relatively recent downturn, however,” Meseck wrote. In 2017 that economic sector generated 170 new jobs.

Agriculture continues to be a crucial economic sector in Grant County, accounting for about 23.9 of total covered employment in 2017, the last year for which data is available.

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