Labor area summary of Grant County

By Donald Meseck, Employment Security’s labor economist for Yakima, Kittitas, Grant, Douglas, Chelan, Adams and Okanogan counties

Each month, the Employment Security Department releases statewide and county employment and unemployment data for the previous month.

This report provides an update on the Grant County economy incorporating current, not seasonally adjusted, nonfarm employment and civilian labor force data. Analysis focuses on year-over-year (between the Marches of 2014 and 2015) and average annual (between 2013 and 2014) labor market changes.

Unemployment rates
Preliminary labor force data show that Washington state’s average annual not seasonally adjusted unemployment rate decreased eight-tenths of a percentage point between 2013 and 2014, from 7.0 percent to 6.2 percent. Between the Marches of 2014 and 2015 the rate declined one and one-tenths points, from 6.8 to 5.7 percent.

In Grant County, the average annual unemployment rate decreased one and one-tenths percentage points between 2013 and 2014, from 8.8 to 7.7 percent. The rate decreased one and one-tenths points this March to 8.1 percent from the 9.2 percent reading in March 2014 (see Figure 1) as the number of unemployed residents dropped and the labor force expanded (see Figure 3).

Grant County unemployment rate chart

Figure 1. The Grant County unemployment rate decrased from 9.2 percent in March 2014 to 8.1 percent in March 2015.

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Chelan and Douglas counties: labor area summary

By Don Meseck, Employment Security’s labor economist for Yakima, Kittitas, Grant, Adams, Chelan, Douglas and Okanogan counties

This analysis of Chelan and Douglas counties incorporates not seasonally adjusted, nonfarm employment and civilian labor force data. Analysis focuses on year-over-year (between March 2014 and March 2015) and average annual (between 2013 and 2014) changes in the labor market.

Unemployment rates
Preliminary labor force data show that Washington state’s average annual not seasonally adjusted unemployment rate decreased eight-tenths of a percentage point between 2013 and 2014, from 7.0 percent to 6.2 percent. Between the Marches of 2014 and 2015 the rate declined one and one-tenths points, from 6.8 to 5.7 percent.

In the two counties, the annual average unemployment rate fell from 7.2 to 6.6 percent between 2013 and 2014, a six-tenths percentage point drop. The rate decreased one and two-tenths percentage points this March to 6.8 percent from 8.0 percent reading in March 2014 (see Figure 1) as the number of unemployed residents contracted and the labor force expanded (see Figure 3).

 

Chelan and Douglas county unemployment rates, not seasonally adjusted

Figure 1. The unemployment rate in Chelan and Douglas counties decreased one and two-tenths percentage points between March 2014 and March 2015.

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Employment Security offers help for employers

By Chad Pearson, Employment Security’s Shared Work marketing manager

The Employment Security Department isn’t just “the unemployment office.” A full suite of business programs is available to help employers succeed.

For instance, consider the Shared Work Program. The business climate is improving and unemployment is down in Washington. Yet, participation in the program continues to be strong because more employers are learning about it. This short video shows how the program helps both businesses and workers.

WorkSource offices around the state can help employers recruit and interview prospective employees. Soon, upgrades to the go2WorkSource.com website will bring a dynamic job-match system to help connect employees and employers.

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Two agency economists join Seattle minimum wage study

Anneliese Vance-Sherman is Employment Security’s regional labor economist for Whatcom, Skagit, Snohomish, King, San Juan and Island counties.

Over the past couple years, the issue of raising the minimum wage has ignited debate locally and nationally. Voters in the City of SeaTac approved a $15 per hour minimum wage that took effect in 2014. Shortly after, the City of Seattle approved a new minimum wage that will reach $15 per hour (adjusted for inflation) to be phased in over several years. The Seattle ordinance went into effect on April 1, 2015.

 

Anneliese Vance-Sherman, Scott Bailey

Employment Security economists Anneliese Vance-Sherman and Scott Bailey are members of the research team studying the effects of Seattle’s minimum wage law.

Following the announcement in Seattle, a number of other governments, businesses and non-government organizations throughout Washington and the U.S. have jumped into the debate, bringing it to a national audience.

Any policy change can have a variety of intended and unintended consequences, and there is no shortage of theories to support both proponents and opponents in this debate.

On the same day the Seattle ordinance was passed, the City Council passed a resolution to study the effects of the new law. The city awarded an interdisciplinary team of researchers at the University of Washington to conduct the multi-faceted study. The team is taking a neutral stance; they aren’t looking to support one theory or another, but to observe actions taken in response to the change, and the way these actions ripple into Seattle-area communities.

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King County and the story of two high-growth industries

Anneliese Vance-Sherman is Employment Security’s regional labor economist for Whatcom, Skagit, Snohomish, King, San Juan and Island counties.

Washington state continues to march forward, leaving behind the economic downturn of seven years ago. King County, with 1.3 million jobs, has arguably led the statewide recovery, and continues to show strong year-over-year job growth in most sectors.

From February 2014 to February 2015, employers in King County created 41,400 jobs—an increase of 3.3 percent. The overwhelming majority of new jobs came from the private sector (38,600 jobs—an increase of 3.6 percent). All major industries expanded over the year, with the bulk of growth observed among service providing industries.

On a percentage basis, the industry that grew its labor force the most was construction. Over the past 12 months, construction industries collectively added 9,200 jobs or 16.4 percent—and gains were widespread, particularly among specialty trade contractors and building construction.

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