Unemployment Numbers Rise In Wenatchee Area
New numbers show the unemployment rate is up in the Wenatchee area, inching up from 7.1 to 7.3 percent between January and February.
The figures show a sharper rise year-over-year, with the jobless rate sitting at 6.1 percent in February of last year.
Unemployment numbers in the Wenatchee area, including Chelan and Douglas counties, typically spike during the winter and drop to levels more in line with the state as a whole during summer.
The number of unemployed workers rose by nearly a quarter, 23.9 percent, in the last year, from 3,919 in February of 2022 to 4,856 in February of 2023.
The jobless rate is up, despite figures showing a steady rise in employment. The local labor market grew by 2,371 workers between February 2022 and February 2023, translating to a growth rate of 3.7 percent in the past year.
"This recent increase in the number of residents in the local labor force is being countered by the rising number of unemployed in Chelan and Douglas counties," said Don Meseck, the state economist who compiled the numbers for the Wenatchee area.
Job sectors across the board were steady or slightly down in the last month, although Education and health services grew by about 100 jobs between January and February.
The latest unemployment report took a closer look at the categories of construction and leisure and hospitality.
Meseck noted job growth rate in the local construction industry slowed from 10.0 percent (year over year) in March 2022 to 3.2 percent growth pace in February 2023.
Between February of 2022 and 2023, leisure and hospitality (primarily hotels, eating and drinking places, and amusement and recreation services) added 300 jobs across the Wenatchee area, a 4.7 percent upturn as employment in the sector grew from 6,400 jobs to 6,700.
Still, the year over year growth rate in leisure and hospitality in March of 2022 was several times higher at 16,4 percent.
The state overall has had more robust growth in leisure and hospitality, going back to March of 2022.