Grays Harbor unemployment rate up, but county drops out of top 10 highest in the state

Unemployment in Grays Harbor County was at 7.4 percent in December, up from November’s 6.5 percent, but the county still fell out of the top 10 list of counties with the highest unemployment rates, according to the State Employment Security Department.

Grays Harbor County was tied with Wahkiakum County for eleventh highest unemployment in the state, behind Ferry — the highest with 11.9 percent — Grant (8.5 percent), Yakima (8.3 percent), Pend Oreille (8.2 percent), Adams and Okanogan (8.1 percent), Stevens (7.8 percent), Pacific and Franklin (7.7 percent), and Garfield (7.5 percent).

In December, Grays Harbor County had a civilian labor force of 28,962, up 287 from the previous month. Of those, 26,824 were employed, according to the state, nine more than in November. The total number of those on unemployment in the county rose by 278 from November to December, according to the state.


Washington’s economy added 11,400 jobs in December and the state’s seasonally adjusted monthly unemployment rate for December was 4.3 percent, according to the Employment Security Department. The December unemployment rate was unchanged from the November rate of 4.3.

“Employers added the highest number of jobs since last July” said Paul Turek, economist for the department. “December’s report caps off a year that has been solid for job growth.”

Private sector employment increased by 9,800 while the public sector increased by 1,600 jobs in December, according to the state. The greatest private job growth occurred in construction, up 2,400 jobs; transportation, warehousing and utilities, up 2,100 jobs; and manufacturing, up 1,800 jobs. Other industry sectors posting job growth were education and health services, up 800 jobs; and both leisure and hospitality and information and financial services each up 500 jobs. Logging and mining was up 100 jobs.

The industry sectors that lost jobs in December were wholesale trade, down 600 jobs; and professional and business services, down 500 jobs.

Employment Security paid unemployment insurance benefits to 65,615 people in December.

The national unemployment rate rose from 3.7 percent in November to 3.9 percent in December. In December 2017, the national unemployment rate was 4.1 percent.

Year-end numbers statewide

From December 2017 through December 2018, the state’s labor force grew by 57,400, according to Employment Security. The labor force is the total number of people, both employed and unemployed, over the age of 16.

Washington added an estimated 101,900 new jobs from December 2017 through December 2018, not seasonally adjusted. The private sector grew by 3.6 percent, up an estimated 98,400 jobs, while public sector employment increased by 0.6 percent with a net gain of 3,500 jobs, according to Employment Security.

From December 2017 through December 2018, 12 of the 13 industries listed by Employment Security added jobs; only mining and logging lost jobs.

The three industry sectors with the largest employment gains year-over-year were construction with 14,500 new jobs; education and health services with 14,200 new jobs, and professional and business services with 12,100 new jobs, according to the state.