Peninsula jobless rate sees little change

More than 700 North Olympic Peninsula residents joined the labor force in October as unemployment rose by three tenths of 1 percentage point in Clallam County and was unchanged in Jefferson County, state officials said.

Clallam County’s estimated jobless rate went from a revised 5.2 percent in September to a preliminary 5.5 percent in October, the state Employment Security Department reported Tuesday.

Jefferson County unemployment remained at 4.9 percent last month, Employment Security said.

Both counties had more people working and more people seeking work in October than they had in the previous month.

Clallam County had 26,717 working residents in October and 1,566 seeking work.

The Clallam County labor force grew by 411 to 28,283 in October.

Jefferson County had 11,654 working residents and 606 who had sought work in October.

The Jefferson County workforce grew by 292 to 12,260.

The Employment Security survey does not count people who have stopped looking for work.

In October 2017, the unemployment rates were 5.9 percent in Clallam County and 5.7 percent in Jefferson County.

The seasonally-adjusted statewide unemployment rate dipped from 4.4 percent to 4.3 percent last month while national unemployment remained at 3.7 percent, according to Employment Security and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Washington employers added 112,100 jobs in the private sector and 7,100 jobs in the public sector since October 2017, Employment Security said.

“The state’s labor market is continuing to tighten,” said Paul Turek, economist for the department.

“The state U-6 unemployment rate, a broader measure of joblessness, also fell in October to a new series low.”

King County had the lowest unemployment in the state last month at 3.2 percent. Ferry County had the highest unemployment at 8.1 percent.

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Reporter Rob Ollikainen can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 56450, or at rollikainen@peninsula dailynews.com.

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