By CHERYL SCHWEIZER
For The Basin Business Journal
MOSES LAKE — Unemployment in Grant County remained stable in 2018 at an average of 6.3 percent for the year, the lowest average annual unemployment since the advent of electronic record keeping in 1990. That’s the same rate as 2017.
Unemployment in December was 8.5 percent, up from 8.1 percent in December 2017.
“Between the Decembers of 2017 and 2018, local nonfarm employment rose by 3.6 percent, from 28,600 jobs to 29,640 jobs,” wrote Don Meseck, regional labor economist for the Washington Department of Employment Security. “Year over year, total nonfarm employment in Grant County has been rising now for the past 12 months.”
That’s the good news. “Less encouraging is that the number of unemployed increased at a 5.3 percent pace with 186 more Grant County residents out of work in December 2018 than December 2017.”
The county’s durable goods manufacturing sector continues to shrink, losing 190 jobs between December 2017 and December 2018. The education and health services sector also lost jobs, dropping 70 jobs between the Decembers.
Most sectors of the economy gained jobs between the Decembers, however.
“Mining, logging and construction” sector jobs are mostly construction in Grant County, and that sector added 120 jobs year over year. Non-durable goods manufacture added 60 jobs, year over year, retail trade added 140 jobs between the Decembers. The transportation, warehousing and utilities sector added 60 jobs year over year.
“Information and financial services employment in Grant County has been rising for the past 15 months, October 2017 through December 2018,” Meseck wrote. The sector added 220 jobs year over year. The professional and business services sector has been growing over the last 12 months, January through December, Meseck said. “This industry provided 570 more jobs countywide in December 2018 than in December 2017, and accounting for over half, 54.8 percent of all jobs added to the Grant County nonfarm labor market during this time frame.”
Government sectors lost jobs, except education, which added 60 jobs.
Agricultural employment is evaluated on a 10-year cycle, with 2017 being the latest data available. That shows the ag sector accounts for about 26.1 of total covered employment in Grant County. That’s an increase of 2.2 percent when compared with 2017.