Jobless rate rises slightly on peninsula while state rate continues to fall

North Olympic Peninsula employers shed 70 jobs in February as Clallam and Jefferson county unemployment rates rose slightly in February, state officials said.

Clallam County unemployment moved from a revised 7.5 percent in January to a preliminary 7.8 percent in February, the state Employment Security Department reported Tuesday.

Jefferson County unemployment went from a revised 7.1 percent in January to a preliminary 7.5 percent, according to a monthly jobs report.

“It’s been kind of a tough go,” regional economist Jim Vleming said in a March 30 interview.

“It’s like treading water at this point.

“I imagine things are going to come back pretty hard in the leisure and hospitality sector in the next couple of months, especially when we get into better weather in spring and whatnot,” Vleming added.

“But right now, we’re down over the year.”

Clallam County lost 20 non-farm jobs from January to February and 400 jobs over the year.

Jefferson County shed 50 jobs in February and 330 for the year.

Clallam County unemployment peaked at a record 20.4 percent last April during the height of the COVID-19 lockdown and returned to single digits last August.

Jefferson County unemployment reached a record-high 19.1 percent last April and fell below 10 percent by August.

In February 2020, Clallam County unemployment was 6.9 percent and Jefferson County’s jobless rate was 6.1 percent.

“That’s kind of in the ballpark, considering all that we’ve been though,” Vleming said.

Vleming predicted that the North Olympic Peninsula would benefit from seasonal tourism later this spring and summer.

“I think the numbers are going to be a little bit better in Clallam than other places because it’s kind of a destination spot,” he said.

Meanwhile, the state unemployment rate dipped from 6.0 percent in January to 5.6 percent in February, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Washington employers added 24,500 non-farm jobs in February, including 23,600 in the private sector, Employment Security said.

“The easing of restrictions to control the spread of COVID-19 is helping those in leisure and hospitality regain jobs,” state economist Paul Turek said last week in a press release.

“But hiring was also widespread across other industries, and the unemployment rate moved down accordingly.”

More in Business

Many Sequim restaurants and eateries change hours, services

Here are updated hours, services and contact information for Sequim area eateries… Continue reading

What’s Happening at the Market: Blissful comfort from BlissPillows

Guests at the Sequim Farmers & Artisans Market have likely grown accustomed… Continue reading

What’s Happening at Market: Lighting the way with regenerative growing practices

Sequim Farmers and Artisans Market regulars have likely noticed three new faces… Continue reading

What’s Happening at the Market: Those who make your market possible

Every Saturday when the community gathers to celebrate local foods and handcrafted… Continue reading

Washington state continues to add jobs in July

Washington’s economy added 22,700 jobs in July and the state’s preliminary seasonally… Continue reading

Tourism grants available

The Olympic Peninsula Visitor Bureau (OPVB) is seeking applications for qualified tourism… Continue reading

Anthony Dezarn
New circulation director joins newsgroup staff

Anthony Dezarn has begun the work of reviving the circulation department for… Continue reading

What’s Happening at the Market: Carving out the spirit of the sea

As guests at the Sequim Farmers & Artisans Market make their way… Continue reading

What’s Happening at the Market: Getting nutty

For the past several weeks at the Sequim Farmers & Artisans Market,… Continue reading

What’s New at the Market: Take a midseason walk through the market

It’s hard to believe that the Sequim Farmers & Artisans Market is… Continue reading

Shadowline set for ‘Evening’

Another Sequim business gets the Seattle spotlight soon. Shadowline Burgers and Brews,… Continue reading

What’s Happening at the Market: Connections through coffee

Rod Dirks is a highly passionate person. Those who know him can… Continue reading