Jobless rates return to single digits on Peninsula

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The North Olympic Peninsula added 450 jobs across all sectors last month as unemployment rates returned to single digits in Clallam and Jefferson counties, the state Employment Security Department reported.

Clallam County added 390 jobs from March to April — 250 in the private sector and 140 in government — and the jobless rate dropped from a revised 10.1 percent in March to a preliminary 9.2 percent in April.

There were 28,130 Clallam County residents in the labor force and 25,550 holding down jobs.

Jefferson County added 60 jobs — including 40 in service sectors — and its unemployment rate fell from 10.0 percent in March to a preliminary 8.9 percent in April.

There were 11,680 Jefferson County citizens in the workforce and 10,640 employed.

‘Great news’

While Clallam County’s workforce held steady, the drop in Jefferson County unemployment was magnified by a 150-person reduction in the labor force.

“It’s nice to finally have some great news, which is every sector is seeing gains, and this bumping along the bottom is hopefully finished,” said Elizabeth Court, regional economist with Employment Security.

The state unemployment rate fell from 7.3 percent to 6.5 percent in April, and national unemployment dipped from 7.6 percent to 7.5 percent, Employment Security said.

At 4.4 percent, King County had the lowest jobless rate among the 39 counties in April.

Grays Harbor County had the highest unemployment at 12.1 percent.

“There are still counties that are suffering from high unemployment rates, especially in some of the rural counties,” Court said.

“We still need to see better numbers and more improvement, but overall, it’s positive.”

Month over month, first-time unemployment claims were down from 483 to 375 in Clallam County and from 129 to 110 in Jefferson County.

A year ago last month, unemployment was about a half-percentage point higher in both counties, at 9.8 percent in Clallam County and 9.4 percent in Jefferson County.

Last modified: May 21. 2013 4:37PM
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