North Olympic Peninsula unemployment rate sees increase as labor force grows

Unemployment grew on the North Olympic Peninsula in January, while the region’s labor force expanded by an estimated 785 residents, state officials said.

Clallam County’s unemployment rate went from a revised 8.4 percent in December to a preliminary 9.2 percent in January, the state Employment Security Department reported Tuesday.

Jefferson County unemployment rose from 7.4 percent in December to 7.9 percent in January, officials estimated.

Despite the uptick in the jobless rates, more people were working — and more people were looking for work — on the North Olympic Peninsula in January.

Clallam County had 24,920 employed residents and 2,529 who were looking for work in January.

The 27,449-member labor force had grown by 489 since December, officials said.

Jefferson County had 10,532 working citizens and 901 seeking work in January.

The 11,433-person labor force had grown by 296 since December.

Unemployment rates do not factor in those who commute to other counties or have stopped looking for a job.

The year-to-year trend remained positive for both counties. The unemployment rates in January 2015 were 9.6 percent in Clallam County and 8.6 percent in Jefferson County.

Meanwhile, the seasonally adjusted statewide jobless rate remained at 5.8 percent in January, while national unemployment dipped from 5.0 percent to 4.9 percent, according to Employment Security and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The state gained about 93,700 jobs from January 2015 to January 2016, including 82,000 private-sector positions, officials said.

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 said.

King and Whitman counties tied for the lowest jobless rates in January at 5.2 percent; Ferry County had the highest at 13.3 percent.

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

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