Grays Harbor/Pacific show historic low unemployment; still ranked among highest statewide

The Grays Harbor and Pacific County unemployment rate continues to show historically low numbers, although statewide rates going down mean that the counties are still among the highest within Washington.

The June unemployment rate for Grays Harbor sits at 4.2%(not seasonally adjusted), showing a decline from the May rate of 4.8%, according to the Employment Security Department in numbers released on Wednesday.

These are the lowest rates for the county since at least 1990, with the closest rates occurring in July and September of 2022 when unemployment sat at 5.6% and 5.8%, approximately an entire 1.5% higher than today.

Pacific County is also seeing an historically low rate at 4.6% for June. While this is a slight increase over the May rate of 4.3%, these past two months have been the only time since 1990 when the rates have been within the 4% range within the county.

The Grays Harbor rate dropped as the Civilian Labor Force increased by around 1000 month-to-month, while also seeing 125 people no longer using the Employment Security Department services. 

Pacific saw around 100 fall off the local labor force, although they did see a slight drop in those on unemployment. While the Civilian Labor Force fell, roughly 90% of them were from the Total Employment sector.

For the year, Grays Harbor and Pacific are also showing some of the lowest average rates since 1990. Grays Harbor shows an average 6.8% for 2023, just below the average for 2022 and slightly higher than the 6.7% average in 2018, although higher numbers in January-March and the traditionally lower fall figures are expected to bring the yearly rate lower.

Pacific has a 6.3% rate for 2023, the lowest average by over 0.5%, with the trending figures expected to continue that decline.

Despite the historic lows in both counties, locally we do sit at 2nd and 3rd highest rates statewide for June. 

Pacific County is tied for 2nd with Wahkiakum for the month, with their 4.3%, while Grays Harbor falls into 3rd ahead of the 4.1% rate in Pend Oreille County.

Washington’s June unemployment rate was at 3.8% statewide. The lowest rates in the state are in San Juan County at 2.3%, with the highest rate of 5.7% in Ferry County.