Kitsap saw gradual job growth in 2014

safeboatsKitsap’s employment picture became a little brighter in 2014.

Kitsap County employers added jobs for the second straight year in 2014, with hiring expected to accelerate through 2015.

Employment among the county’s residents, which has declined steadily since 2008, showed signs of stabilizing.

We’ll look at both trends, starting with job creation in Kitsap.

Jobs in Kitsap County

Employers are still digging out from the economic recession in many sectors.

home constrAfter years of local job losses, the county is finally seeing gradual job gains, according to data from the Employment Security Department.

There were an average of 85,100 jobs in Kitsap last year, compared with 83,800 in 2013, a 1.5 percent increase.

The county is still about 2,300 jobs short of its 2006 employment peak.

Margaret Hess of WorkSource Kitsap said hiring activity was noticeably improved last year. The WorkSource has been hosting frequent hiring events with employers. Job openings at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard drew a great deal of interest.

“We’re really positive,” Hess said. “Things are looking up.”

Regional state economist Jim Vleming said he expects hiring to accelerate in several sectors this year, including construction and recreation/leisure.

“We’re definitely going in the right direction,” he said.

Here’s a graphical look at longterm Kitsap job trends:

 

 

Employment and unemployment

While Kitsap employers have added jobs, employment among county residents is only beginning to show signs of a turnaround.

Kitsap has seen year-over-year declines in both its labor force (the number of residents working or actively seeking jobs) and employment (the number of residents working).

The labor force continued to shrink in 2014, albeit at a more gradual rate. Average employment remained essentially flat from 2013 to 2014, a positive sign. An average of 6,750 people were unemployed and looking for work last year.

Vleming expects jobseekers to begin trickling back into Kitsap’s labor force in 2015.

“You’re slowly seeing those people returning statewide,” he said.

Vleming believes employment will pick up and unemployment will shrink moving into the spring.

“I think once we’ll get through these last few weeks of winter well see employment pick up,” he said. “I think we’ll see some positive news moving into 2015.”

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