Adams County jobless rate declines
Labor trend encouraging going forward
Last updated 11/3/2022 at 11:25pm
RITZVILLE – Adams County's overall jobless rate has been dropping substantially.
According to August data released in October by regional labor economist Donald Meseck, the county's unemployment rate dropped 1.7% between 2020 and 2021. For the month of August, the county's reading of 3.6% is the lowest rate recorded in more than two decades.
Meseck's Adams County Labor Summary report shows an encouraging trend in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic and mandated shutdowns. The non-farm economy added 240 jobs in 2021 and in August of this year, total nonfarm employment rose to 6,510 jobs.
That's a 1.7% increase from the 6,400 jobs tallied in August 2021, according to the report.
"Year over year, Adams County's labor force has expanded for 17 consecutive months (April 2021 through August 2022," the report said. "The post-COVID recovery in Adams County's nonfarm market appears to be well underway."
But the news isn't uniformly positive. Although employment in the county's retail trade industry either stabilized or increased from August 2021 through April 2022, the numbers in that sector have fallen since May.
In August, data collected from local retail trade establishments (including motor vehicle and parts dealers, building material and garden supply stores, food and beverage stores, and gasoline stations) showed a 9.5% employment downturn over the three-month period.
On the other hand, the report shows substantial growth in the agricultural sector. For example, the number of agricultural jobs jumped from 1,656 in 2011 to 2,814 in 2021, a total increase of 69.9% and annualized growth of 5.4%.
"These data trends indicate that the agricultural industry (in terms of employment and payroll) has become more 'influential' in the Adams County economy during this recent ten-year timeframe (2011 through 2021)," the report said.
The report suggests that "relatively more agricultural workers are being hired into full-time year-round positions (with fewer hires into part-time/seasonal jobs)." Adams County is only one of five counties in Washington state with August unemployment rates of 4% or less, the report shows.