REGIONAL ECONOMIC OVERVIEW
The post-COVID job recovery continues. Though data showed the number of jobs dropped in January, February saw gains that almost offset the jobs lost the prior month. As of February (March data is not yet available), the region had recovered all but 47,000 of the more than 300,000 jobs lost due to the pandemic. Of note is that employment levels in Grays Harbor, Thurston, San Juan, and Clallam counties are now above their pre-pandemic levels. In February, the regional unemployment rate rose to 4.1% from 3.7% in December. Although this may be disconcerting, an improving economy has led more unemployed persons to start looking for a job, which has pushed the jobless rate higher. I expect the regional economy to continue expanding as we move into the spring and summer, with a full job recovery not far away.