Local Area Monthly Summary: January 2016

Kennewick-Pasco-Richland Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA)

Ajsa Suljic, Regional Labor Economist
Tel: 509-734-5928 or Email: asuljic@esd.wa.gov

Kennewick-Pasco-Richland Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) added 4,600 new nonfarm jobs, on a preliminary, not seasonally adjusted basis, from January 2015 to January 2016. The local unemployment rate, at 8.4 percent, increased from a December 2015 revised rate of 7.8 percent and decreased from a January 2015 revised rate of 9.0 percent by six-tenths of a percent each, respectively, according to the estimates by the federal Bureau of Labor statistics (BLS).

The Benton County unemployment rate was 7.7 percent, while the Franklin County unemployment rate was 10.1 percent in January 2016.

The state’s unemployment rate remained at 5.8 percent, the same as revised employment rate for December 2015 and the same as one year ago in January 2015. The U.S. unemployment rate dropped slightly to 4.9 percent for January 2016.

The labor force expanded in January for Kennewick-Pasco-Richland Metro and across Washington state. The resident labor force rose from 127,714 people in January 2015 to nearly 131,621 in January 2016, which is a 3.1 percent increase over-the-year. The labor force is the total number of people, both employed and unemployed, over the age of 16.

Kennewick-Pasco-Richland MSA’s unemployed workforce increased to 10,994 in January 2016. The Employment Security Department paid unemployment insurance benefits to 4,842 unemployed residents in amount of $5.5 million.

The two-county area nonfarm employment has increased year-over-year for 34 consecutive months. January’s nonfarm growth was higher by 4.5 percent or 4,600 jobs when compared to the same time in 2015.

New job growth was driven by industries across the spectrum including: administrative and support services, food services, retail trade, private education and healthcare services, manufacturing, and financial activities.

When we look at the cluster of industries in trade, transportation, warehousing and utilities, we can see growth of 1,000 jobs over-the-year. However, the majority of that growth was coming from retail trade, which grew by 600 new jobs. Most of this growth reflects the continuous expansion of retail trade offerings throughout the many cities in this two county area.

Other industries that had job expansions over the year include:

  • Administrative and Support Services (800);
  • Food Services (600);
  • Government (600);
  • Manufacturing (400);
  • Private Education and Healthcare Services (400);
  • Accommodation Services (200);
  • Financial Services (200); and
  • Professional and Technical Services (100).

The construction industry job offerings were unchanged over-the-year in January 2016.

For more details you can call 509-734-5928 or email at asuljic@esd.wa.gov

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