July 25, 2013
Local unemployment rates have seen a steady decrease over the last 23 consecutive months. The rate here fell to 6.5 percent in June, a 0.3 percent drop from the same month last year. Industries that have seen the most gain were construction and agriculture, namely with fruit pickers, fruit warehouse workers, and fruit trucking.
The local civilian labor force has declined five of the last six months. Regional Labor Economist for Central Washington Don Meseck said that fact puts a damper on the lower unemployment rate and is usually never good economic news. Meseck said the number of unemployed residents in Chelan and Douglas counties has been falling at a faster rate than the labor force has been shrinking, indicating there is still a fair number of discouraged workers out there.
The monthly report published by the Washington Employment Security Department also shows the region saw a dip in the agricultural employment due to the cooler, wetter weather at the end of June. Meseck said that slight drop should creep into the July numbers as well. Yet, he said, the overall economic picture is positive.