Grays Harbor unemployment dropped since December, now sitting at 11.6%, is no longer the highest within the state, and is showing the lowest January number since 2008. The December total was seasonally adjusted to 11.7%.
Pacific County unemployment also dropped from their December numbers of 10.9%, seasonally adjusted, to 10.5%.
Ferry County once again holds the highest unemployment statewide, increasing over an entire percentage point from 11.5% in December to 12.9% in January.
In 2013, January unemployment for Grays Harbor was 13.6%, 14.2% in 2012, 14.4% in 2011, 15.7% in 2010, and 13.2% in 2009. In 2008, local unemployment was only 8.2%.
Statewide, unemployment sits at 6.4%, with over 85% of the counties showing numbers higher.
In December, an estimated 25,000 jobless workers in Washington were shut off of unemployment benefits when the federal Emergency Unemployment Compensation program ended. That included 378 in Grays Harbor, and 71 in Pacific County. The majority of workers impacted are in King and Pierce.
Washington now has more jobs than before the start of the Great Recession, according to economists with the state’s Employment Security Department.
For January, the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was an estimated 6.4%, also the lowest since 2008.
Economist Paul Turek attributed January’s declining unemployment to increased hiring.
The largest job growth in January occurred in the construction industry, with a gain of 2,500 jobs.
In January, an estimated 222,000 people in Washington were unemployed and looking for work. That included 105,464 who claimed unemployment benefits last month.
February county-by-county unemployment figures are scheduled to be released on March 25.