North Olympic Peninsula unemployment rates mainly unchanged in July

PORT ANGELES — Unemployment rates held mostly steady on the North Olympic Peninsula last month despite the addition of 350 nonfarm jobs, the state Employment Security Department estimated Tuesday.

Clallam County added 270 jobs in July, including 140 in goods-producing and 130 in the service sector, as the jobless rate went from a revised 6.7 percent in June to a preliminary 6.9 percent in July.

Jefferson County added 180 private-sector jobs but shed 100 government positions last month as unemployment held flat at 6.5 percent, Employment Security officials said.

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 people commuting to other counties for work.

“The labor pool has been kind of bouncing around a little bit,” said Jim Vleming, a regional economist with Employment Security.

According to the latest estimates, Clallam County had 24,210 citizens holding a job and 1,800 looking for work in July.

Jefferson County had 10,090 employed residents and 700 seeking a job last month.

Unemployment rates do not factor those who commute to other counties or have stopped looking for a job.

Jobless rates were significantly higher in both Peninsula counties in July 2013: 8.5 percent in Clallam County and 8.2 percent in Jefferson County.

“We’re moving in the right direction,” said Vleming, who predicted continued job growth in August.

Last month, statewide unemployment dipped from a revised 5.8 percent to a preliminary 5.6 percent.

San Juan County had the lowest estimated jobless rate in July at 3.3 percent.

Grays Harbor, Lewis and Ferry counties tied for the highest unemployment at 8.8 percent.

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

The seasonally adjusted national unemployment rate went from 6.1 percent in June to 6.2 percent in July, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

County unemployment estimates for August will be released Sept. 23.

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

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