Peninsula labor force grows, unemployment up slightly

Nearly 1,000 North Olympic Peninsula residents entered the labor force in July as unemployment rose by one-tenth of 1 percent in Clallam and Jefferson counties, state officials said.

Clallam County added 665 to its workforce as the jobless rate went from a revised 6.2 percent in June to a preliminary 6.3 percent in July, the state Employment Security Department reported Tuesday.

Jefferson County added 332 to its labor force as unemployment went from a revised 5.5 percent in June to a preliminary 5.6 percent in July, Employment Security said.

The region added 997 workers to its resident civilian labor force, which is the number of people 16 and older who are employed and unemployed.

Employment Security considers a person unemployed if he or she is available for work and has actively sought work in the past month.

There were 26,609 working Clallam County citizens and 1,790 who were unemployed in July, according to Employment Security estimates.

Jefferson County had 11,534 workers and 688 job seekers in July.

North Olympic Peninsula unemployment rates were significantly higher a year ago, at 7.8 percent in Clallam County and 7.2 percent in Jefferson County.

Meanwhile, the seasonally adjusted state unemployment rate remained at 4.5 percent in July. National unemployment went from 4.4 percent to 4.3 percent.

Unemployment rates at the county level are not seasonally adjusted because the sample size is too small to accommodate the additional analysis, Employment Security officials said.

San Juan County had the state’s lowest estimated unemployment rate last month at 3.1 percent, followed by Chelan (3.2 percent) and King (3.6 percent) counties.

Ferry County had the highest jobless rate at 9.4 percent, followed by Wahkiakum (6.6 percent) and Pend Oreille (6.4 percent) counties.

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

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