Economic Outlook

Based on information received from the Washington Department of Employment Security, Kittitas County-level employment figures and unemployment rates for September 2018 unemployment rate dropped from 4.6 percent in September 2017 to 4.1 percent in September 2018, a significant five-tenths point downturn. The current, 4.1 percent not seasonally adjusted unemployment rate is the lowest reading for the month of September in Kittitas County since the 3.8 percent rate recorded 19 years ago, in September 1999. Washington Employment Security projects Education and Health Services to experience the highest growth rates over the next several years.

The largest employers in Ellensburg are Central Washington University, Kittitas Valley Healthcare, Ellensburg School District, Kittitas County, Anderson Hay and Grain, Elmview, Consolidated Communications, Fred Meyer, City of Ellensburg, and Twin City Foods, Inc. Ellensburg’s economic base has been relatively narrow since its settlement in the late 1800s. While Ellensburg still enjoys a strong agricultural base, our community as a whole has become less dependent on the natural and agricultural resources.

Today Central Washington University, Kittitas Valley Healthcare, government, and retail industries are strong economic drivers in the community. Ellensburg has also experienced an increasing number of residents commuting to Yakima County and to the greater Puget Sound region for employment opportunities. In 2015, the median income for households residing in the City of Ellensburg is $28,341 which reflects the large number of households that consist of university students living on little or no personal income. Family households median income in 2014 is $60,650.