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County’s unemployment rate drops


Washington State ESD

DROPPING UNEMPLOYMENT: This graphs shows unemployment rates (not seasonally adjusted) for Klickitat County, January 2010 through October 2012. Source: Employment Security Department/LMEA; U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Local Area Unemployment Statistics.

Klickitat County’s unemployment rate continued to fall in 2012, reaching a three-year low.

According to a new report from the Washington State Employment Security Department (ESD), the local economy in the county provided 5,630 jobs in both October 2011 and in October 2012; hence there was no year-over-year change in total non-farm employment in Klickitat County. Businesses and government organizations across Washington supplied 2,912,100 jobs this past October (not seasonally adjusted), compared to 2,857,200 jobs in October 2011. This equated to a 1.9 percent over-the-year statewide employment increase.

Year-over-year job growth rates in Washington have been positive for the past 25 months (from October 2010 through October 2012). The news for Klickitat County is not uniformly rosy, however. Job growth in the county has not kept pace with the state. In fact, over-the-year nonfarm job growth rates in Klickitat County have been less robust than growth rates in Washington for the past 10 reportable months (from January-October 2012).

Washington’s Civilian Labor Force (CLF) shrank 0.9 percent in 2011, resumed growth in January 2012, and posted year-over-year increases in the first seven months of 2012. However, year-over-year growth stalled from August through October 2012. This October, Washington’s labor force was estimated to be 3,483,840, a 0.6-percent decrease from the 3,506,430 residents in the labor force in October 2011.

Klickitat County’s CLF diminished 0.8 percent in 2011, and it has not been particularly strong from January through October 2012. The county’s labor force contracted in nine out of the first 10 months of this year. Only between March of 2011 and March of 2012 did Klickitat County’s labor force rise – by 0.8 percent. The Klickitat County CLF stood at 10,820 residents in October 2012, a decrease of 0.7 percent from the 10,910 residents in the labor force in October of last year.

Nonfarm employment in Klickitat County stabilized at 5,630 jobs from October 2011 to October 2012. However, the local labor Market was not static during this time, as there were a few employment changes in some of the county’s major industries. Specifically: Manufacturing in Klickitat County declined by 10 jobs in 2010 but rebounded by 40 (up 7.7 percent) in 2011 by providing 560 jobs, on an annual average basis. This past October, manufacturing firms accounted for 600 jobs, a 40-job and 7.1-percent increase over the 560 manufacturing jobs in October 2011. Wholesale trade employment in Klickitat County stabilized in 2010, and increased by 20 (up 16.7 percent) in 2011 by averaging 140 jobs. However, this October wholesale trade companies had 130 jobs, down 30 (minus 18.8-percent) from the 160 jobs provided in October 2011. Professional and business services employment decreased by 60 jobs (down 5.5 percent) in 2010, but increased by 30 (up 2.9 percent) in 2011 and averaged 1,070 jobs. The uptrend continued this October as this industry employed 1,100, a 20-job and 1.9-percent increase above the 1,080 jobs provided in October 2011. Professional and business services employment has posted steady year-over-year growth for the last 18 months in Klickitat County (from May 2011 through October 2012).

Bottom line: key indicators are mixed, but overall there are signs of encouragement in the county’s economy.


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