The Tri-Cities saw jobs bloom in the past two months, adding more than 2,700 nonfarm positions since August.
The increased employment in industries from education to construction helped the Tri-Cities see greater employment in October than a year ago, according to the data released Tuesday by the state Employment Security Department
The Tri-Cities is seeing year-to-date growth of 3.2 percent for nonfarm jobs, after a streak of negative numbers, said Ajsa Suljic, regional labor economist for Benton and Franklin counties.
But despite the gains in health care, hospitality, manufacturing, education and retail trade, the Tri-Cities has yet to leave behind the impacts of Hanford layoffs.
Suljic said while the gap is narrowing, the area still has not made up for the 4,000 or so jobs lost between layoffs in September of 2011 and 2012.
"We are recovering slowly," she said.
However, just this week three Hanford contractors announced plans to layoff 450 more workers in December and January because the federal budget has yet to be passed by Congress.
But as of October, the Tri-City unemployment rate dropped to 7 percent. That's up slightly from 6.8 percent September, but lower than in October 2012, according to the data.
The jobless rate remains higher than the state's 6.4 percent in October. That means there were about 9,500 Tri-Citians who were out of work and actively hunting for a new job, according to the data.
Total employment grew to more than 126,000 jobs in October, a nearly 3 percent increase from October 2012.
The job information for both September and October was released Tuesday because the federal shutdown caused a delay in September's numbers.
During September and October, apples, wine grapes, juice grapes, potatoes and many other crops in the Mid-Columbia were being harvested.
Farm employment was up about 6 percent in October compared with the same month last year for Benton, Franklin and Walla Walla counties. There were more than 19,700 agricultural jobs during that month.
While total farm employment was up, fewer seasonal workers made up that number. Not as many seasonal workers were needed this year because of smaller crop sizes, Suljic said. Some workers did not travel to the Tri-City area because the demand was not as high this year.
WorkSource Columbia Basin has continued to see about 800 job seekers a week. Administrator Joe Perez said that's normal for this time of year.
There are more than 850 jobs listed through WorkSource, with a variety of occupations and skill levels, he said. There is both part-time and full-time work.
Star West Satellite will be recruiting for technicians, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Dec. 9 at the agency's Kennewick office, he said.
Other unemployment rates for October were: Adams County, 5.7 percent; Benton County, 7.1 percent; Columbia County, 8.4 percent; Franklin County, 6.7 percent; Grant County, 6.4 percent; Walla Walla County, 5.6 percent; and Yakima County, 6.9 percent.
-- Kristi Pihl: 582-1512; firstname.lastname@example.org