Peninsula loses jobs, jobless rate rises

PORT ANGELES — North Olympic Peninsula employers shed 400 jobs in January as unemployment rose to 8.1 percent in Clallam County and 6.6 percent in Jefferson County, state officials said.

Clallam County had 289 fewer workers from December to January as the jobless rate climbed from a revised 6.9 percent in December to a preliminary 8.1 percent in January, the state Employment Security Department said Tuesday.

Jefferson County lost 111 jobs as unemployment went from a revised 5.9 percent in December to a preliminary 6.6 percent in January, officials said.

February employment statistics are scheduled to be released March 26.

In January, Clallam County had 26,021 employed residents and 2,284 seeking work, Employment Security said. A person is counted as unemployed if he or she is available to work and had sought work in the past month.

Jefferson County had 11,620 employed citizens and 824 job seekers in January, according to Employment Security.

Both counties had fewer initial unemployment claims in January than they had in December.

First-time jobless claims were down from 384 to 319 in Clallam County and from 100 to 88 in Jefferson County in January.

Unemployment reached a 28-year low in Clallam County last September at 5.2 percent, according to historical data. Clallam County unemployment peaked at 13.1 percent in January 2010, Employment Security said.

Jefferson County unemployment reached a 11-year low last September at 4.9 percent. Jefferson County’s jobless rate peaked at 12.1 percent in January 2010.

Meanwhile, the seasonally-adjusted statewide unemployment rate remained at 4.5 percent in January 2019, Employment Security said.

National unemployment went from 3.9 percent to 4.0 percent, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The state gained 12,300 jobs in January and 83,700 jobs for the year, officials said.

“The positive momentum in the state’s labor is being sustained for now,” Employment Security economist Paul Turek said in a news release.

“The number of jobs added the last two months is impressive.”

Unemployment statistics at the county level are not seasonally adjusted.

King County had the lowest unemployment in the state in January at 3.7 percent, followed by Snohomish (4.0 percent) and Whitman (4.8 percent) counties.

Ferry County had the highest unemployment in the state at 15.3 percent, followed by Okanogan (10.0 percent), Grant (9.8 percent) and Yakima (9.8 percent) counties.

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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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