The growth rate for new jobs in Chelan and Douglas counties picked up pace in October, but unemployment still ticked upwards to hit 5.1 percent.
Nearly all job sectors — even home construction — showed moderate to substantial gains even as the impact of Alcoa’s January layoffs continued to take a toll on manufacturing in the two counties.
Job numbers for the Chelan and Douglas counties were released Tuesday by the state Employment Security Department.
From October 2015 through September this year, growth in jobs for Chelan and Douglas counties trailed statewide growth rates, said state Regional Labor Economist Don Meseck. This slow-growth trend was reversed in October 2016, he said, when the two counties’ job pace (4.7 percent) surpassed the state’s (3.2 percent).
Nonetheless, Meseck added, the area’s October jobless rate rose 0.4 percent from the same month last year because the number of unemployed residents increased by 350 over October 2015, which outpaced any expansion of the local labor force.
The effect of layoffs of 428 workers at Alcoa Wenatchee Works in January has all but leveled out over the following 10 months as workers found other employment. Since October 2015, manufacturing employment had fallen by 100 jobs, considerably fewer than the previous nine months.
Chelan-Douglas counties October 2015: 4.7 percent
Chelan-Douglas counties October 2016: 5.1 percent
Statewide October 2016: 5 percent
Nationwide October 2016: 4.9 percent
Tourism up 11.1 percent (700 jobs)
Healthcare up 9 percent (600 jobs)
Construction up 9.1 percent (200 jobs)
Temp jobs, pinned to apple harvest, up 5.6 percent (1,600 jobs)