Peninsula workforce, unemployment grows

Nearly 350 joined the North Olympic Peninsula labor force in December, resulting in higher unemployment rates for Clallam and Jefferson counties, state officials said.

Clallam County’s jobless rate went from a revised 7.4 percent in November to a preliminary 8.1 percent last month, the state Employment Security Department reported Tuesday.

Jefferson County unemployment went from a revised 7.3 percent in November to a preliminary 7.4 percent in December, according to the latest estimates.

Clallam County added 170 to its labor force in December, while Jefferson County gained 175 workers and active job seekers.

Employment Security defines the labor force as the number of people who are employed or those who are available to work and have actively sought work in the past four weeks.

The North Olympic Peninsula workforce has grown by an estimated 510 in the past two months, with 165 joining the combined labor pool in November.

In December, Clallam County had 25,388 employed citizens and 2,230 seeking work.

Jefferson County had 10,685 employed residents and 852 in the job market, Employment Security said.

Meanwhile, the seasonally adjusted statewide unemployment rate dipped from 5.3 percent in November to 5.2 percent in December.

National unemployment rose from 4.6 percent to 4.7 percent last month, according to Employment Security and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

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

The state gained 6,700 jobs in December and 82,300 jobs for the year, according to the estimates.

Last month, King County had the lowest unemployment in the state at 3.4 percent, followed by Snohomish (3.9 percent), Whitman (4.8 percent) and Asotin (5.1 percent) counties.

Ferry County had the highest unemployment at 11.5 percent, followed by Yakima (9.9 percent), Grant (9.6 percent) and Franklin (9.5 percent) counties.

________

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