Employment down; housing market steady

TRI-CITIES - The growth in the Tri-Cities has meant a steady industry for the housing market. But it can't prevent a downward trend for the overall economy. KEPR dug deeper into the state of our community.
The Tri-Cities has a lot to offer.
It's why we live here.
And why many are moving here.

GREG: "Great weather. We have people that retire here from all over the country," said Local Realtor Greg Tripp.

In fact, the Census Bureau said the Tri-Cities was one of the fastest-growing metro area in the nation between 2010 and last year.
A reliable housing market is also a seller.

"So we're pretty steady growth in the Tri-Cities for our housing market and we're pretty pleased with that," added Tripp.

Rather than the drops you've heard about elsewhere, the average home in the Tri-Cities is priced up to three percent higher each year.
Which hasn't slowed sales.

"The inventory is shrinking somewhat in the Tri-Cities, which is good for the sellers," stated Tripp.

Despite all that growth, our housing market isn't correlating to economic stability.
From November 2011 and November 2012, the number of jobs that are not agriculture-related decreased by almost 3% across Benton and Franklin Counties.
Local economists say we're now experiencing what the rest of the nation already suffered through.

"We wait about three to five years after recession when the state and nation is recovering, then we are in a downtown economic stability," said Regional Labor Economist Ajsa Suljic.

Layoffs at Hanford are most to blame for the rise in unemployment.
But the Tri-Cities has retained about half of the employees it gained five years ago.

"We are still better off than we were in 2007," said Suljic.

Keeping up the constant improvement of the building, selling and buying of new homes.

"This is the best place in my opinion to live and to sell real estate in the U.S," said Tripp.

Local economists also tell KEPR a net number of eight-thousand people moved to the Tri-Cities.
That's from 2010 to last year.