The Wenatchee area jobless figure rose for a third consecutive month in December, 2023.

Regional Labor Economist Don Meseck found a 5.7% unemployment rate in his latest report for the Chelan/Douglas County labor market.  The rate is more than double the historic low's in unemployment from the summer of '23

The number of people seeking work in the two-county Wenatchee MSA has dropped for six consecutive months. Meseck explains there are fewer people of working age actively seeking work.  He attributes the labor force shrinkage to baby boomer retirements since the pandemic. He says boomers (those born between 1945 and 1965) have exited the labor force and are not returning.

In December the decline in job seekers in Chelan and Douglas County had fallen to 2,079 less than the previous December (2022), a -3.2% downturn . Meseck says the good news is there were 561 fewer residents out of work in the Wenatchee area to end the year.  The decrease in the number of unemployed more than offset the shrinking labor force and pushed the unemployment rate down from a year ago.

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Graphic: Washington Employment Security Department
Graphic: Washington Employment Security Department

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