Labor area summary for Yakima County, January 2015

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.

Unemployment rates
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.


Yakima County unemployment rate

Figure 1. Yakima County’s unemployment rate increased five-tenths of a percentage point between January 2014 and January 2015.

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Walla Walla and Columbia counties: Year in review 2014

Ajsa Suljic is Employment Security’s regional labor economist for Asotin, Benton, Columbia, Garfield, Franklin and Walla Walla counties.

Walla Walla and Columbia County employers added over 220 jobs from December 2013 to December 2014. The job market in the area started improving in November 2013, which marks 14 months of consecutive job growth in the area. This is evidence that the job market is improving with better business confidence to hire, due to larger demand for business products or services.

Total 2014 nonfarm employment (seasonally adjusted) for Walla Walla and Columbia counties

The unemployment rate in Walla Walla County decreased to 6.7 percent in December 2014, while the Columbia County unemployment rate increased to 11.1 percent, compared to 9.5 percent in December 2013. The increase in the Columbia County unemployment rate is attributed to more individuals coming back into the labor force, which increased by 70 people over the year.

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