Jobless rate sinks slightly on Peninsula

Unemployment was down by more than 1.1 percentage points in Clallam County and 0.3 percent points in Jefferson County last month, state officials said.

Clallam County unemployment fell from a revised 8.8 percent in February to a preliminary 7.7 percent in March, the state Employment Security Department said Tuesday.

Jefferson County’s jobless rate dipped from a revised 7.0 percent in February to a preliminary 6.7 percent last month.

Statewide unemployment was up slightly — from 4.5 percent in February to 4.6 percent in March — despite a gain of 27,900 nonfarm jobs.

National employment remained at 3.8 percent in March, according to Employment Security and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Clallam County had 26,294 employed residents and 2,195 job seekers in March. The county’s unemployment rate was 7.2 percent in March 2018.

Jefferson County had 11,596 employed residents and 829 job seekers in March. The county’s unemployment rate also was 6.7 percent 12 months ago.

Both counties on the North Olympic Peninsula had significant reductions in first-time unemployment claims last month.

Clallam County’s initial claims were down from 445 in February to 163 in March. Jefferson County’s initial claims were down from 118 in February to 56 in March, officials said.

Employment Security paid unemployment insurance benefits to 68,651 in March.

King County had the lowest unemployment in the state at 3.6 percent last month, followed by Snomomish (4.0 percent) and Whitman (4.6 percent) counties.

Ferry County had the highest unemployment in the state at 15.1 percent, followed by Stevens (9.6 percent) and Pend Oreille (9.5 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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