Grant County employment rate increases

MOSES LAKE — Grant County’s economy may be showing signs of recovery after COVID-19 pandemic restrictions have slowed and in some cases closed businesses for the past 20 months, according to a report released Friday. by the Washington State Department of Employment Security.

The unemployment rate in October 2021 was 4.3%, compared to 5.8% in October 2020, according to the ESD.

October unemployment, measured year-over-year, was at its lowest level in more than 30 years, Don Meseck, regional labor economist at ESD, wrote in an email.

“Year-over-year, COVID-19-related layoffs drove up unemployment rates in Grant County from April to November 2020, but rates declined from December 2020 to October 2021, except for a mild year-over-year recovery in March 2021,” Meseck wrote. “The October 2021 unemployment rate was the lowest for October since data began to be recorded electronically in 1990.”

Part of the active population may have increased.

The number of people in the labor force decreased year over year from February to August 2021, before increasing in September and October. Some of them could be people traveling or working remotely, Meseck wrote.

“Grant County’s workforce was slightly larger in October than it was two years ago in October 2019 (i.e. pre-COVID),” Meseck wrote.

And the number of jobs in the county in October 2021 was higher than in October 2019, the last year of the pre-coronavirus pandemic.

“This indicates that, overall, the local economy has recovered the number of jobs lost in last year’s COVID-19 related layoffs,” Meseck wrote.

But not all sectors of the economy have recovered.

Durable goods manufacturing lost jobs from October 2020 to October 2021, as did the local transportation and warehousing sector. The professional and business services sector also experienced a slight decline.

“But almost every other industry in Grant County provided significantly more jobs in October 2021 than in October 2020,” Meseck wrote.

Retail trade employment increased or stabilized year over year, from June 2020 to October 2021. The leisure and hospitality sector also increased, when measured by year to year. Employment in this sector increased between April and October 2021.

Employment in the non-durable goods sector, which in Grant County is primarily food processing, has increased over the past three months when measured year over year.