Good news on the job front for the Tri-Cities area. More people are working

The Tri-Cities unemployment rate dropped to 5.1 percent in May, from 5.7 percent in April.

But figures released Tuesday by the Washington Employment Security indicate the local rate has been higher than 2018 for four consecutive months.

May’s unemployment rate was two-tenths of a percent higher than a year earlier.

Employment figures show the Tri-City economy boasted nearly 146,000 civilian workers, with nearly 138,600 holding jobs. There were 7,400 people looking for work.

The statewide unemployment rate was 4.2 percent, identical to the prior year and down from 4.4 percent in April. The state has a civilian labor force of nearly 3.9 million workers. Of those, about 163,000 are seeking work.

Across Washington: Bellingham (4.7%), Bremerton (4.5%), Longview (6.2%), Pierce County (5.1%), Seattle/Bellevue/Everett (3%), Spokane County (5%), Spokane Valley (5.1%), Walla Walla (4.5%), Wenatchee (4.9%) and Yakima County (6.8%).

Online: esd.wa.gov

Wendy Culverwell writes about local government and politics, focusing on how those decisions affect your life. She also covers key business and economic development changes that shape our community. Her restaurant column and health inspection reports are reader favorites. She’s been a news reporter in Washington and Oregon for 25 years.