Latest Yakima County unemployment numbers up just slightly from a year ago

For only the second time in 2013, Yakima County’s unemployment numbers actually rose during the month of November.

That’s according to a labor area summary for November 2013 released last week by the state’s Employment Security Department.

Don Meseck is a regional labor economist with the state, and he notes unemployment in Yakima County increased two-tenths of a percent, from 8.7 percent in November 2012 to 8.9 percent in November 2013.

The only other time the number of unemployed rose compared to the year before was in January 2013, with a rate of 12.4 percent compared to 12.2 in January 2012.

The job sector taking the biggest hit in November 2013 was non-durable manufacturing (primarily food processing), which was down 400 jobs compared to November 2012.

Job markets with the biggest gains in November 2013 were fresh fruit packing houses (up 300 jobs) and professional and business services (up 200).

Even with November’s slight jobless uptick, Yakima County is overall in better shape. For example, Meseck notes the unemployment rate in November 2011 was 9.6 percent – more than a full point higher than the rate for November 2013.

In addition, he notes the county’s non-farm employment has either stabilized or posted year-over-year increases in 16 of the previous 18 months through November 2013.

As for farm employment, Meseck notes there was a gain of 4,070 jobs in November 2013 compared to November 2012. The figures are for a South Central Washington area that encompasses Klickitat and Yakima counties. Meseck says about 95 percent of the jobs in that ag sector are in Yakima County.

The only down note in ag employment was in seasonal work, which was down by more than 2,000 jobs over the 12-month period.


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