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Grant County unemployment declines, as do job openings

by CHERYL SCHWEIZER
Staff Writer | November 8, 2021 1:05 AM

MOSES LAKE — Grant County’s economy is recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic, but it’s a little uneven, according to recent information from the Washington Employment Security Department. Grant County’s unemployment rate dropped between September 2020 and September 2021, but the number of people in the county’s workforce declined.

The unemployment rate was 4% in September 2021, compared to 6.8% in September 2020. Unemployment also dropped between August and September. The August 2021 unemployment rate was 5.2%.

Don Meseck, WESD regional labor economist, said the number of people in the labor force declined from February through September 2021, when measured year over year. But the rate of decline has been slowing down, he said.

“This September there were 104 fewer residents in the civilian labor force versus September 2020,” Meseck wrote in a report released Friday.

But the number of unemployed people dropped dramatically from September 2020 to September 2021.

“The number of unemployed plummeted by 1,405, down 41.9%, from 3,355 residents in September last year to 1,950 in September 2021,” Meseck wrote.

The number of unemployed people more than offset the drop in labor force participation, he wrote.

The total number of jobs available declined, when measured year over year, from June through September, Meseck wrote.

“Nevertheless, it is encouraging to note the ‘resident employment’ growth pace of 2.9% (from September 2020 to September 2021). This likely indicates that some of the 1,301 additional Grant County residents employed in September 2021 either commuted or teleworked to jobs outside the county,” he wrote.

Most employment sectors showed the effects of the decline in the number of jobs. The construction sector lost 240 jobs when measured year over year.

The professional and business services sector also lost jobs from September 2020 to September 2021. That sector includes businesses, such as legal services, accounting and bookkeeping and IT services, among others. The number of jobs in professional and business services was declining from June to September.

The number of jobs in the leisure and hospitality sector also has been dropping, when measured year over year, and that sector, too, shrank from June to September, Meseck wrote.

The nondurable goods sector, which in Grant County is mostly food processing, showed a net gain of 170 jobs from September 2020 to September 2021.