By Rob Ollikainen
Peninsula Daily News
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Clallam County shed 220 jobs in December — 160 in the private sector and 60 in government — as the unemployment rate moved from a revised 8.2 percent to a preliminary 8.6 percent.
There were 2,350 Clallam County residents looking for work among a 27,270-member labor force, Employment Security said.
Jefferson County lost 60 jobs from month to month — 40 in private sector and 20 in government — as the jobless rate rose from 7.9 percent to 8.4 percent.
Jefferson County had 950 citizens looking for a job among an 11,320-member workforce.
Unemployment rates do not factor those who have stopped looking for a job.
Service sectors accounted for most of the job losses in both counties. Clallam County lost 150 service-providing jobs as Jefferson County shed 40 in December.
Looking back to December 2012, the jobless rates were a full percent higher in both counties, at 9.7 percent in Clallam County and 9.4 percent in Jefferson County.
Initial unemployment claims were up from 443 to 592 in Clallam County and from 106 to 133 in Jefferson County in December.
Continued jobless claims rose from 686 to 897 in Clallam County last month, while expired claims went from 25 to 51.
Jefferson County's continued jobless claims went from 242 to 278 in December as expired claims rose from 10 to 15.
King had lowest rate
King County had the lowest unemployment rate among the 39 counties at 4.7 percent. Grays Harbor County had the highest jobless rate at 11.6 percent.
Employment Security estimated that the statewide jobless rate fell from 6.8 percent to 6.6 percent in December but cautioned that shrinking unemployment was largely due to people who stopped looking for work and dropped out of the labor force.
Paul Turek, an Employment Security labor economist, told The Associated Press that the numbers appeared stronger in December than in the previous two months, with an estimated 4,800 jobs added between November and December.
“It's tempered enthusiasm,” he said.
Employment Security said the state added a total of about 47,000 jobs for the year.
The national jobless rate was 6.7 percent in December, down from 7.0 percent in November.
Reporter Rob Ollikainen can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5072, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.