Jobless rates on Peninsula top the state’s

By Rob Ollikainen
Peninsula Daily News

Losses in trade, transportation and warehousing jobs fueled a rise in North Olympic Peninsula unemployment last month, when state and national rates dropped, a regional economist said Wednesday.

Clallam County shed 390 jobs as the unemployment rate rose from a revised 8.5 percent in October to a preliminary 9.1 percent in November, the state Employment Security Department reported.

Jefferson County lost 80 jobs and saw its unemployment scale up from 8.2 to 8.7 percent over that span.

The state unemployment rate dropped from 8.2 to 7.8 percent in November, while the national jobless rate went from 7.9 to 7.7 percent.

That led Elizabeth Court, a regional economist with the Employment Security Department, to say that the economy is showing positive momentum despite monthly “ups and downs.”

Court said that most of the job losses on the Peninsula were “things related to the pre-holiday shopping buildup.”

Clallam County gained 40 retail jobs as the holiday season ramped up, but it lost 90 jobs in transportation and warehousing, along with 50 in trade.

“Sometimes before the holiday season we see a build-up in trade transportation and warehousing, then as stuff gets out to retailers it drops off,” Court said.

The November unemployment rates in both counties were lower than they were in November 2011.

Thirteen months ago, Clallam County’s jobless rate was 9.5 percent and Jefferson County’s was 9.0 percent.

Clallam County’s labor force shrank from 28,550 in October to 28,290 last month.

Jobless rates don’t account for those who have stopped looking for work.

Jefferson County’s labor force remained flat at 11,940, with 1,030 job seekers and 10,910 employed.

Whitman County in southeast Washington had the state’s lowest unemployment rate at 5.2 percent in November.

Lewis County in southwest Washington had the highest jobless rate at 11.5 percent.

Reporter Rob Ollikainen can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5072, or at

Last modified: December 26. 2012 6:17PM
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