Jobless rate rises slightly on Peninsula

‘It’s like treading water’

PORT ANGELES — North Olympic Peninsula employers shed 70 jobs in February as Clallam and Jefferson county unemployment rates rose slightly last month, state officials said.

Clallam County unemployment moved from a revised 7.5 percent in January to a preliminary 7.8 percent in February, the state Employment Security Department reported Tuesday.

Jefferson County unemployment went from a revised 7.1 percent in January to a preliminary 7.5 percent, according to a monthly jobs report.

“It’s been kind of a tough go,” regional economist Jim Vleming said in a Tuesday interview.

“It’s like treading water at this point.

“I imagine things are going to come back pretty hard in the leisure and hospitality sector in the next couple of months, especially when we get into better weather in spring and whatnot,” Vleming added.

“But right now, we’re down over the year.”

Clallam County lost 20 nonfarm jobs from January to February and 400 jobs over the year.

Jefferson County shed 50 jobs in February and 330 for the year.

Clallam County unemployment peaked at a record 20.4 percent last April during the height of the COVID-19 lockdown and returned to single digits last August.

Jefferson County unemployment reached a record-high 19.1 percent last April and fell below 10 percent by August.

In February 2020, Clallam County unemployment was 6.9 percent and Jefferson County’s jobless rate was 6.1 percent.

“That’s kind of in the ballpark, considering all that we’ve been though,” Vleming said.

Vleming predicted that the North Olympic Peninsula would benefit from seasonal tourism later this spring and summer.

“I think the numbers are going to be a little bit better in Clallam than other places because it’s kind of a destination spot,” he said.

Meanwhile, the state unemployment rate dipped from 6.0 percent in January to 5.6 percent in February, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Washington employers added 24,500 nonfarm jobs in February, including 23,600 in the private sector, Employment Security said.

“The easing of restrictions to control the spread of COVID-19 is helping those in leisure and hospitality regain jobs,” state economist Paul Turek said in a press release.

“But hiring was also widespread across other industries, and the unemployment rate moved down accordingly.”


Reporter Rob Ollikainen can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 56450, or at [email protected]

More in News

Peninsula virus cases hit plateau

Health officers still urge caution

After a long winter, kinetic sculptor Colin Bartle brings his machines out into the Port Townsend sunlight on Sunday. He’s among the builders hoping to join October’s Great Port Townsend Bay Kinetic Sculpture Race. (Diane Urbani de la Paz/Peninsula Daily News)
Kinetic sculpture planning is on for October

Parade, water and land races expected this fall

IRS amends taxes on unemployment insurance

The Internal Revenue Service has announced that, beginning in May,… Continue reading

This illustration, created at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), reveals ultrastructural morphology exhibited by coronaviruses. Note the spikes that adorn the outer surface of the virus, which impart the look of a corona surrounding the virion, when viewed electron microscopically. A novel coronavirus, named Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), was identified as the cause of an outbreak of respiratory illness first detected in Wuhan, China in 2019. The illness caused by this virus has been named coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).
WHAT WE KNOW: Coronavirus outbreak at a glance

The latest news on the pandemic, plus symptom information and prevention tips

A GMC Sierra burned and two propane tanks exploded on Sunday on Kemp Street behind the IGS grocery store on U.S. Highway 101 east of Port Angeles. (Clallam County Fire District 2)
Burning truck leads to propane explosions east of Port Angeles

Windows blown out from blast; no injuries reported

Most Read