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Job growth in tourism, construction helps shrink March unemployment rate

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Graphic provided  The unemployment rate in Chelan and Douglas counties declined by 1.1 percentage point between March 2016 and March 2017.

WENATCHEE — The unemployment rate in Chelan and Douglas counties fell to 6.6 percent in March on the strength of job growth in tourism, construction and health care. 

The March jobless rate in the two-county area declined 1.1 percentage points, year over year, according to county stats released Tuesday by the state Employment Security Department.

Also helping shrink the latest unemployment numbers was a flattening of the jobless rate in the Chelan-Douglas manufacturing sector, which registered 2,400 jobs in March for zero change from the same month one year ago. It’s the first time in 15 months the sector hasn’t shown a year-over-year decrease in hiring since Alcoa mothballed its Wenatchee Works smelter in January 2016 and laid off more than 400 workers. 

Out of 10 job sectors posted for Chelan and Douglas counties, only the federal government sector showed a decline in hiring for the month.

JOBLESS RATES IN MARCH

Chelan and Douglas counties March 2016: 7.7 percent

Chelan and Douglas counties March 2017: 6.6 percent

Statewide March 2017: 4.9 percent

Nationwide March 2017: 4.5 percent

JOB SECTORS GROWING IN MARCH

Tourism up 11.7 percent (700 jobs)

Construction up 9.1 percent (200 jobs)

Health care up 4.2 percent (300 jobs)

Private services, including temp labor, up 2.4 percent (700 jobs)

JOB SECTORS FLAT OR DECREASING IN MARCH

Manufacturing flat — zero change

State government flat — zero change

Federal government down 12.5 percent (100 jobs)