The Wenatchee Valley regional labor report for December was released, detailing a continued drop in the labor pool and an increase in the unemployment rate.

This report compares labor trends from December of 2021 and 2022, and estimates that the majority of jobs lost during the pandemic were recovered.

Wenatchee’s monthly unemployment rates were steadily decreasing for 19 months before increasing in November and December 2022.

Wenatchee’s Civilian Labor Force increased slightly by 0.4%, however the local labor force has continued to retract for the past seven months.

There are roughly 102 fewer Chelan or Douglas County residents in the labor pool, and the number of unemployed residents in the area rose from 2,883 in 2021 to 3,945 in 2022.

"The bottom line: a shrinking labor force is seldom considered good economic news."

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Both of these factors resulted in an unemployment rate increase from 4.4% in November to 6.1% in December.

However, the annual unemployment rate average decreased from 5.4% in 2021 to 4.7% in 2022.

The nonfarm job market in the Wenatchee Valley continues to grow, with the local economy adding 2,000 jobs during 2022, a 4.3% increase.

The number of construction jobs has been decreasing since August, partly due to the number of homes still on the market.

Healthcare and education jobs expanded 7.7%. Leisure and hospitality jobs had a similar growth rate.

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