Unemployment numbers up in January - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Unemployment numbers up in January

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YAKIMA, Wash.-- Unemployment numbers continue to grow month to month in Yakima, keeping the local WorkSource office busy.

But as the weather changes, needs on farms and in warehouses will grow throughout our area too.

Agriculture makes up about 24% of the total employment numbers in the county, so after picking season a lot of people are without work, making for long lines and crowded offices at WorkSource.

In January, the unemployment rate in Yakima County sat at 12.1%, actually down 0.2% from a year ago but still higher than it was in December.

Local WorkSource administrators say the coming ag season means jobs for local people.

"It brings in more people in the community, more people are working. We have about 23,800 people working every year in the industry," said Sondra Pieti with WorkSource Yakima.

People in the ag industry say it's tough to predict what kind of job growth we'll see in the coming months because it's hard to predict how big the crops will be.

But Regional Economist Don Meseck says that in January there were almost 21,000 agriculture jobs in Yakima and Klickitat Counties, up almost 14%from a year ago.

Perhaps a healthy indicator of what we can expect.