By Donald Meseck, ESD’s regional labor economist serving Adams, Chelan, Douglas, Grant, Kittitas, Okanogan and Yakima counties.
This report incorporates not seasonally adjusted, nonfarm employment and civilian labor force data. Analysis focuses on year-over-year (between January 2014 and January 2015) and average annual (between 2013 and 2014) changes in the labor market.
Preliminary labor force data show that Washington state’s average annual not seasonally adjusted unemployment rate decreased nine-tenths of a percentage point between 2013 and 2014, from 7.0 percent to 6.1 percent. Between the Januarys of 2014 and 2015, the rate stabilized at 7.0 percent.
In Yakima County, preliminary data indicate that the average annual unemployment rate decreased nine-tenths of a percentage point between 2013 and 2014, from 9.2 to 8.3 percent. However, the not seasonally adjusted unemployment rate rose five-tenths of a point in January 2015 to 12.3 percent, from 11.8 percent in January 2014 (as shown in Figure 1). Why? The number of unemployed residents grew more rapidly than the labor force, hence this five-tenths point year-over-year rise in the rate.