Grays Harbor/Pacific unemployment rates fall in May

Grays Harbor and Pacific counties both saw a slight drop in their unemployment last month, although both remain near the top of rates statewide.

In the May figures, released by the Employment Security Department, it shows that Grays Harbor fell from 6.5% in April to 6.3% in May. Pacific saw a drop from the 6.0% April rate to 5.9% in the latest preliminary figures for May.

Despite the drop, the counties remain at 3rd highest statewide for Grays Harbor and 6th highest for Pacific. Ferry County sits at the highest rate in Washington with a 7.7% unemployment figure, while Asotin County shows the lowest rate at 3.3%.

Locally little change came month-to-month, with the Grays Harbor Civilian Labor Force growing by 140 while around 179 were added to Total Employment while 39 were added to Total Unemployment.

Pacific saw 104 added to the employment total, with only one worker coming off of Total Unemployment within the county.

Both counties are showing a higher rate of unemployment as compared to 2023 when Grays Harbor sat at 4.8% and Pacific at 4.3%. Despite the lower figures in May 2023, the counties at that time featured the 2nd and 3rd highest unemployment rates statewide for that month.

When looking at the historical numbers (1990 to present) the Civilian Labor Force for May 2024 is consistent with the average over the prior 34 years, although the average unemployment rate is far lower. The average unemployment rate is 9.8% for Grays Harbor and 9.3% for Pacific from 1990-2024, as compared to the latest figures.

The statewide unemployment rate for May was 4.9% while the national rate sat at 4.0%.