Southeastern Washington unemployment rates are consistent with the national average

KENNEWICK, Wash. — Unemployment rates across Southeastern Washington generally fall in line with the national average, although certain outliers like the low unemployment rates in Walla Walla County and high rates in Yakima County stick out.

Data gathered by Ajsa Suljic, a Regional Labor Economist for the Washington State Employment Security Department (ESD) released updated unemployment statistics effective for November 2021.

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Her research shows that Walla Walla County has the third-lowest unemployment rate in Washington state with just 2.8% of the population jobless. This reflected a decline of 0.5% from the previous month and 2.7% from November of 2020.

The total unemployment rate across Washington state in November 2021 was 3.4%, according to Suljic and the ESD. However, each Southeastern Washington county in our region posted an unemployment rate that was slightly higher than the state’s average:

  • Kittitas County: 3.6%
  • Benton County: 3.6%
  • Grant County: 4.4%
  • Franklin County: 4.4%
  • Yakima County: 4.9%

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Please keep in mind that these rates were not seasonally adjusted to account for many of the state’s regional farming jobs and other applicable industries.

Despite the variance in unemployment rates across Southeastern Washington counties, none of these percentages should be particularly shocking.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics and United States Department of Labor, the national unemployment rate for November 2021 stood at 4.2%; which is within 0.7% of all rates posted in counties covered by our station.

As we continue adapting to the COVID-19 pandemic, the country’s unemployment rate has steadily declined back to a more stable rate which we saw pre-pandemic.


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