Peninsula adds 160 jobs but unemployment rate still rises

By Rob Ollikainen
Peninsula Daily News

North Olympic Peninsula added 160 jobs in February but unemployment rates climbed slightly in Clallam and Jefferson counties, the state Employment Security Department reported today (Tuesday).

Clallam County added 150 jobs — 130 in the private sector and 20 in government — as unemployment rose from a revised 9.1 percent in January to a preliminary 9.8 percent last month.

Jefferson County added 20 government jobs but shed 10 in the private sector, as unemployment went from 8.7 percent in January to 9.4 percent in February, according to estimates derived from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Unemployment rates can differ from trends in the number of jobs gained or lost because of changes in the size of the labor force and because of people who commute to other counties for work, Employment Security regional labor economist Jim Vleming has said.

Clallam County's labor force expanded by 300 residents — from 26,990 to 27,290 — in February. That number includes 2,690 who were actively seeking work.

Jobless rates don't count those who have stopped looking for a job.

The Clallam County employment breakdown shows a rebound in the service trades with 150 jobs added in February. Clallam County lost 190 service-providing jobs in January.

Clallam County added 20 jobs in natural resources and mining but shed 20 in manufacturing last month.

Meanwhile, Jefferson County's labor force grew by 30 residents in February to 11,230. The workforce included 1,050 active job seekers.

Jefferson County added 30 manufacturing jobs in February but lost 20 jobs in trade, transportation and utilities, 10 in information and financial activities and 10 in leisure and hospitality.

Unemployment rates were about 1 percentage point higher in both counties 13 months ago, at 10.7 percent in Clallam County and 10.8 percent in Jefferson County.

Statewide unemployment remained at 6.4 percent last month, while the seasonally-adjusted national unemployment rate went from 6.6 percent in January to 6.7 percent in February, Employment Security said.

King County had the lowest unemployment in the state at 5.2 percent in February.

Pend Oreille County in the northeast corner of the state had the highest estimated jobless rate at 12.6 percent.

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

Last modified: March 25. 2014 3:24PM
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