Yakima County Development Association - Yakima Valley Economy Gains Momentum

Jonathan Smith

The President’s Pen is a weekly blog written by Jonathan Smith, New Vision’s President and CEO about local economic development projects and initiatives. It also covers economic trends, workforce issues, business climate policies, and manufacturing news. 

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Yakima Valley Economy Gains Momentum

March 28, 2011

The Great Recession has definitely taken its toll on our local economy over the past couple years. From 2008 to 2010, Yakima county lost 2600 nonfarm jobs. Manufacturing and construction were particularly hard hit – these sectors lost 1800 jobs during this period. I have maintained that despite these challenges our regional economy has fared relatively well versus many other areas across the United States.

New evidence from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that the Yakima region's nonfarm employment gained 1600 jobs back last year. Manufacturing rebounded a bit (+100 jobs) and retail, health care and professional services also added jobs.

Thanks to some great research from Wadley Donovan's GrowthTech division we can clearly see that our economic performance last year was near the top compared with other Northwest metro areas.


Metro Area January 2010 Nonfarm Jobs December 2010 Nonfarm Jobs 2010 Total Jobs Added (or lost) % Change in 2010 Nonfarm jobs
Yakima, WA

75,900


77,500


1,600


2.1%

Kennewick-Pasco-Richland, WA

97,300


99,800


2,500


2.6%

Wenatchee-East Wenatchee, WA

38,500


39,000


500


1.3%

Spokane, WA

204,400


203,800


-600


-0.3%

Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WA

1,632,300


1,643,800


11,500


0.7%

Olympia, WA

97,800


96,900


-900


-0.9%

Boise City-Nampa, ID

253,700


250,000


-3700


-1.5%

Portland, OR

962,600


965,000


2,400


0.2%

Bend, OR

60,800


60,300


-500


-0.8%

Missoula, MT

55,400


54,900


-500


-0.9%

Billings, MT

78,600


77,700


-900


-1.1%


The Wadley Donovan report shows that economic recovery is starting to take hold across the United States. There are, however, quite a few metro areas that are still struggling:

    • 43 states plus the District of Columbia saw employment gains;

 

    • Seven states had declines in employment;

 

    • 239 MSAs saw gains in the number of jobs;

 

    • 11 MSAs had no net job gains or losses; and

 

    • 115 MSAs had net job losses.



Yakima Valley residents should take heart that our economy is heading in the right direction. This recovery is fragile though so keep pushing for economic renewal and help make it happen by doing some shopping (locally of course!).


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"We are a community in transition, we are hungry...seeking to draw new business." - Dave Edler, City of Yakima