Local unemployment rises above 7% in December

Grays Harbor and Pacific counties each saw their unemployment rise over an entire percentage point between November and December to round out 2023, based on the latest figures from the Employment Security Department.

In county-by-county figures released on Tuesday, officials show that both coastal counties ended the year above 7% unemployment, with Grays Harbor at 7.4% and Pacific at 7.5%. 

These figures place the two counties at the 5th and 4th highest statewide, respectively.

Despite this increase, the counties ended the year with an average unemployment rate at the lowest level since 1991 when the modern statistics were first implemented.

Grays Harbor averaged a 6.3% unemployment rate and Pacific with 6.1% for the year.

For December, Grays Harbor saw a drop in the Civilian Labor Force and Total Employment, and over 300 people moved onto Total Unemployment. The November rate of 6.3% jumped to 7.4% with the change.

Pacific saw the Civilian Labor Force and Total Employment slip, bringing the 1.1% increase from November’s 6.4%. 

Historically, the start of the year brings higher-than-average figures for both counties.

Statewide, Ferry and Wahkiakum counties topped the highest rates once again at 9.4% and 8.4%, respectively. Yakima Count saw the third highest, with Grant County tying Pacific for the 4th highest.

King, Snohomish, San Juan, and Asotin counties all featured local unemployment below the state average of 4.6% for December.