Many commute to and from the Tri-Cities for jobs - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Many commute to and from the Tri-Cities for jobs

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KENNEWICK, Wash. -- The labor economist for Eastern Washington, Arum Kone says the job market in the Tri-Cities has many people commuting in and out of Benton and Franklin Counties.

"People move where jobs are, one thing the Tri-Cities had in the last five years is that they had a lot of jobs being created," says Kone.

Business services manager, Candice Bluechel at Worksource Columbia Basin in Kennewick says it's a big selling point for hiring. "When we are recruiting a potential new business to come into the Tri-Cities, we pitch that we actually have a regional workforce," says Bluechel.

In Benton and Franklin Counties, there are 101,400 non agricultural jobs, and 22,000 county residents drive someplace else for work every month.

"We have significant number of Tri-Cities residents who work at the Chemical Depot in Umatilla. We have significant numbers that work at Boise Container and Boise Paper in Walla Walla County. Then there's commuters going to the Wal-mart Distribution Center in Yakima, says Bluechel.

StarWest Satellite is in the process of hiring eight new people for it's Kennewick office, and the applicants are from all over says the company's employment director, Karly Hubbard. "For this location, I've had a couple of people interested from the La Grande area, and Baker City.

Numbers show that if you include agriculture jobs, 15% of the work force in Benton County is from outside the Tri-Cities., But it evens out because 13% of Benton Residents go elsewhere to work. Those numbers are even more staggering for Franklin County. 35% of the work force in Franklin commute here, and 38% percent of residents travel for work.

Bluechel says traveling in Eastern Washington and Oregon is a lot less Hectic than the West side. "From Walla Walla county all the way down to Pendleton, Oregon, we really don't have a sense of that being too far of a commute, because we don't have the traffic jams attached to it."