Peninsula jobless rate drops in March

OLYMPIA — North Olympic Peninsula jobless rates fell by one-half of 1 percentage point in March as Clallam and Jefferson county employers added an estimated 350 workers to their payrolls, state officials said.

Clallam County’s unemployment rate dipped from a revised 8.0 percent in February to a preliminary 7.5 percent in March, the state Employment Security Department reported Tuesday.

Jefferson County’s jobless rate went from a revised 7.5 percent in February to a preliminary 7.0 percent last month, the estimates show.

Clallam County had 25,612 working citizens — up 286 from February — and 2,071 job seekers in March, Employment Security said.

Jefferson County had 11,047 workers — up 64 from February — and 828 unemployed in March.

A person is counted as unemployed if he or she is available to work and has sought work in the last four weeks, Employment Security said.

In March last year, unemployment rates were 7.3 percent in Clallam County and 6.3 percent in Jefferson County.

Jobless rates at the county level are not seasonally adjusted.

The seasonally-adjusted statewide unemployment rate went from 4.7 percent to 4.8 percent in March despite a net gain of 3,900 jobs.

State employers have added 93,500 jobs since March 2017, including 83,700 in the private sector, Employment Security said.

“An expanding economy continues to generate jobs and employment opportunities for state residents,” said Paul Turek, an Employment Security economist.

“The unemployment rate is hovering near historical lows.”

National unemployment remained at 4.1 percent in March, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

King County had the state’s lowest unemployment rate in March at 3.4 percent, followed by Snohomish (3.8 percent) and San Juan (4.5 percent) counties.

Ferry County had the highest unemployment at 16.6 percent, followed by Stevens (9.6 percent) and Okanogan (9.3 percent) counties.

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Reporter Rob Ollikainen can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 56450, or at [email protected].

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