The Grant County Labor Area Summary for Dec. 2020 showed Grant County’s resiliency in 2020. Despite the COVID-19 pandemic bringing unemployment rates up, Grant County has shown positive growth in many areas.

According to the report by Regional Labor Economist Donald Meseck, “Grant County’s civilian labor force (CLF) expanded by 674 residents from 2019 to 2020; the only county in the five-county North Central WA Workforce Development Area (WDA) to do so in 2020.”

The report also noted that year-over-year employment in Grant County’s construction industry has increased in each of the past 13 months (December 2019 through December 2020). Preliminary average annual employment estimates indicate that the growth in this Grant County industry during 2020 was phenomenally good. Construction employers averaged 390 new jobs in 2020, a 26.4% increase – more robust than any other major Grant County industry. This past December, local construction contractors tallied 1,980 jobs, a 480-job and 32% upturn since December 2019.

Year-over-year, the county’s labor force also increased from September through December 2020 (following over-the-year losses from June through August 2020). Preliminary estimates indicate that the number of residents in the labor force grew from 44,287 in December 2019 to 49,899 in December 2020, equating to 5,612 more Grant County residents in the CLF (up 12.7%) while the number of unemployed residents edged upwards by 11 (up 0.3%). “This substantial labor force expansion more than offset the marginal rise in the number of unemployed,” the report stated. Grant County’s unemployment rate declined from 8.9% in December 2019 to 7.9% in December 2020.

Year-over-year monthly nonfarm employment has been expanding in Grant County for the past five months (August through December 2020). Between the December of 2019 and 2020, employment in Grant County rose 3.2%, a gain of 950 jobs, while Washington’s nonfarm market shrank by 5.4% during this period.

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