According to data released this week by the Washington State Employment Security Department, the Tri-Cities was the fastest growing job market in the entire state last year.

The ESD says with a growth rate of 3.6 percent, we had more job opportunities than any other area.

Although Seattle added the most total jobs, the highest percentage of growth was in the Tri-Cities Metro area, with over 3,600 last year alone.

Food manufacturing accounted for 1,100 of them, with a growth rate of 15 percent. According to business license applications and reports, a wide variety of jobs are represented. Autozone, according to the Tri-City Area Journal of Business, is building a warehouse that will provide 200 jobs in Pasco, and Lamb Weston is adding 100 jobs to a food production line at it's plant near Richland.

Plus, new technologies and projects continue at Hanford besides the cleanup of the waste tanks. Tourism, convention and sport event business are growing as well, and the wine industry continues to draw jobs and visitors.

By comparison, the state's growth average overall was 2.6 percent.

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