Using federal CARES Act dollars, the state Department of Commerce developed an Economic Recovery Dashboard that provides data on employment, consumer behavior, food assistance and other economic indicators to track the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The dashboard, unveiled online Monday, shows that while Skagit County has seen job losses and demand for food assistance since the state’s pandemic response was launched in March, the county hasn’t been hit as hard as other parts of the state.

Still, local data is important to understanding the impact on Skagit County residents and what it may take to recover from the pandemic.

“The economic impact of COVID-19 on individuals, families and businesses is like nothing we’ve ever seen before,” Commerce Director Lisa Brown said in a news release. “The depth and complexity of the challenge we’re dealing with demands that we use data in new ways to help every family, every community and every industry get back on their feet, stronger and more resilient than before.”

The dashboard’s data will be updated monthly. Over time, the data will help identify which communities or industries are recovering well and which need continued support.

So far, the data shows that in Skagit County about 2,000 fewer jobs were filled by the end of July compared to a year ago and about 14% of the county’s population, or nearly 18,000 residents, were using government food assistance programs in July.

As of the end of August, taxable retail sales — which are down 5% statewide compared to a year earlier — were up in Skagit County by $2 million. After nosediving between February and April, retail sales in the county returned to normal levels by June, according to dashboard data.

Also statewide, employment numbers have shown some improvement since May and the construction sector in particular has recovered 80% of its jobs, according to the dashboard. Hospitality remains the hardest hit industry in the state.

To see the data, visit commerce.wa.gov/datadashboard.

— Reporter Kimberly Cauvel: 360-416-2199, kcauvel@skagitpublishing.com, Twitter: @Kimberly_SVH, Facebook.com/bykimberlycauvel

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