Peninsula unemployment rises slightly; jobs decrease

North Olympic Peninsula employers shed nearly 300 jobs last month and Clallam and Jefferson unemployment rose by less than 1 percentage point, state officials said.

Clallam County unemployment climbed from a revised 6.1 percent in November to a preliminary 6.9 percent in December, the state Employment Security Department estimated Wednesday.

Jefferson County’s jobless rate went from a revised 5.4 percent in November to a preliminary 5.9 percent in December, Employment Security said.

Both counties had higher unemployment rates in December 2017 — 7.1 percent in Clallam County and 6.3 percent in Jefferson County — than they had last month.

The statewide unemployment rate remained at 4.3 percent while national unemployment went from 3.7 percent in November to 3.9 percent in December.

State employers added 11,400 jobs in December 2018 and 101,900 for the year.

“Employers added the highest number of jobs since last July,” Employment Security Economist Paul Turek said of last month’s gains.

“December’s report caps off a year that has been solid for job growth.”

There were 26,555 Clallam County residents working in December, down 205 from the previous month, and 1,959 seeking work, up 206 from November.

Jefferson County had 11,662 working citizens in December, down 86 from the previous month, and 733 seeking work, up 65 from November.

A person is counted as unemployed if he or she is available to work and had actively sought work in the past month.

Initial unemployment claims were up from 329 to 384 in Clallam County and from 94 to 100 in Jefferson County.

Employment Security paid unemployment insurance benefits to 65,615 people in December, officials said.

King County had the lowest unemployment in December at 3.3 percent, followed by Snohomish (3.6 percent), San Juan (4.5 percent) and Whitman (4.6 percent) counties.

Ferry County had the highest unemployment at 11.9 percent, followed by Grant (8.5 percent), Yakima (8.3 percent) and Pend Oreille (8.2 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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