Stevens County unemployment rate second-highest in state…
The unemployment numbers for May are out and the rates are quite good across the country. While the Tri-County area has lagged behind the rest of the state in economic numbers, this May did provide the third straight month where the unemployment dropped in Stevens County. The rate went from eight percent in April to seven percent in May.
Still that rate is the second-highest in the state, well below Ferry County’s 12 percent unemployment rate. 2018 has not been a good year for the neighboring county, as unemployment rates are two to three percent higher than the previous three years.
Meanwhile, Washington State posted a 4.7 unemployment rate in May while the country as a whole has a 3.8 rate – an 18-year low.
The country’s jobless claims fell by 3,000 to 218,000 in May. U.S. job growth is also accelerating in tight labor market conditions. On average, hourly earnings rose eight cents for US workers and the GDP rose at 4.8 percent in the second quarter.
Washington gained 7,800 private sector jobs, while the public sector gained 700 jobs. The Seattle metro area has a 3.7 percent unemployment rate. Spokane County had an unemployment rate of 5 percent and has had a growth in construction jobs as housing inventory is low in the city.
Stevens County had 18,135 people in its workforce and 16,874 were working. The county as a whole has 44,439 people. Currently 1,261 people are unemployed.
The unemployment rate for the county has been slightly higher than last year for much 2018. It has been gaining ground on 2017’s low numbers, and the 7 percent unemployment rate in May is just a hair higher than May 2017 6.9 percent unemployment.
It’s still much lower than 2016’s 7.5 percent unemployment and 2015’s 8.7 percent unemployment.
Labor force participation is at 62.8 percent for the country and 63.9 percent for the state of Washington. This is down from a high of 70.2 percent for the state in 1998.