Peninsula counties add jobs

North Olympic Peninsula employers added more than 300 jobs as Clallam and Jefferson counties’ unemployment dipped slightly in March, state officials said.

Clallam County unemployment fell from a revised 7.8 percent in February to a preliminary 7.4 percent in March, the state Employment Security Department reported last week.

Jefferson County’s jobless rate went from a revised 7.7 percent in February to a preliminary 7.6 percent last month.

Clallam County added 240 service-providing jobs and 140 government jobs in March, Employment Security said.

Clallam County gained a net 240 jobs in March but had shed 650 jobs since the COVID-19 lockdowns began in March 2020.

Jefferson County added 70 service-providing jobs in March, including 40 in leisure and hospitality.

Jefferson County gained a net 70 jobs in March but had lost a combined 740 jobs since March 2020, Employment Security said.

Unemployment rates in March 2020 were 7.0 percent in Clallam County and 6.3 percent in Jefferson County.

State employers added 23,100 jobs in March as the seasonally-adjusted statewide unemployment dipped from 5.6 percent in February to 5.4 percent last month, Employment Security said.

Unemployment rates at the county level are not seasonally adjusted because the sample size is too small to accommodate the additional analysis, according to the department.

“Broad gains in hiring continued from February through March in response to the improving public health position,” said Paul Turek, Employment Security economist.

“Although employment remains below pre-pandemic levels, the state’s labor market is on track to make up the deficit relatively quickly.”

Asotin County had the state’s lowest unemployment rate at 4.5 percent in March, followed by Whitman (4.8 percent) and Walla Walla (5.2 percent) counties.

Ferry County had the highest March unemployment at 9.8 percent last month, followed by Pend Oreille (9.2 percent) and Grays Harbor (8.8 percent) counties.

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