The Tri-Cities economy is still adding jobs and workers.
And you might be seeing it in your paycheck.
April's unemployment rate of 5.7 percent continued a downward seasonal trend that began in March.
Construction, a perennial job engine for the region, continues to power economic growth here, according to the monthly economic snapshot released Tuesday by the Washington Employment Security Department.
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The civilian labor force expanded to more than 137,000 people, with 129,527 employed. With 640 more jobs than a year ago, the local economy is expanding, but at a slower pace than last year.
Ajsa Suljic said the growing labor force is good news for an economy that has been expanding for more than three years.
April's unemployment rate was slightly higher than a year ago, but Suljic called it a tradeoff that shows the economy is moving.
Construction, retail, hospitality, health and education all contributed to the growth.
Suljic said she's not concerned that construction remains such a critical component of the local economy. It accounted for 9,300 jobs in April, up 2,100 jobs in two years.
That sector should remain strong as the Tri-Cities tries to catch up from projects deferred during the Great Recession.
The investment is a strong indicator of business success, as it shows other industries have money to spend, Suljic said.
Education and health services employed 16,200 in April, up 1,200 in the past two years. Leisure and hospitality was up 700 jobs and retail 200.
Wages also are on the rise in the Tri-Cities, Suljic said.
In March, the average private, nonfarm worker worked 35.9 hours a week, a decrease from 36.9 hours a before.
Weekly wages rose to $1,068, and hourly wages to $29.67, up 3.8 percent over the prior year.
The Seattle metro area, including Everett and Tacoma, is the only Washington metro area with higher average wages — $37 per hour.
Carl Adrian, president of the Tri-City Development Council, counsels against reading too much into local wages.
Hanford-related paychecks swell the local average, Adrian said, adding that it's unlikely that salaries, particularly hourly rates, are higher here than most markets.
The Washington unemployment rate for April was 4.4 percent, comparable to the same month a year ago and down a percentage point from March.