There's concern about the growth in employment numbers in the Wenatchee area lagging behind the state average in every month so far this year.

The current trend, from January through May 2022, follows seven consecutive months last year, June through December, when new job numbers locally outstripped the state overall.

The new numbers were released by the Washington State Employment Security Department.

The Wenatchee area labor force in the most recent month (64,622 residents) was 735 residents and -1.1 percent smaller than the 65,357 same month in 2019 before the COVID-19 pandemic.

Washington’s not seasonally adjusted average annual unemployment rate fell from 8.5 percent in 2020 to 5.2 percent in 2021. Between May 2021 and May 2022, the rate dropped from 5.1 to 3.6 percent, a decline of one and five-tenths percentage points.

The May 2022 seasonally adjusted percent reading of 4.3 percent is the lowest rate for the month of May in the Wenatchee Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) since data began to be recorded electronically in 1990.