Grays Harbor County jumped back up into double digits and the highest unemployment rate in the state for May, according to figures released Tuesday. Pacific County fared better with a preliminary rate of 9 percent.
The preliminary rate for Grays Harbor is 10.5 percent, up over the revised rate of 9.7 percent for April, the first time the county had been out of double digits since the Great Recession hit in 2008.
All numbers are not seasonally adjusted. The unemployment rate doesn’t count people who have become discouraged and dropped off the rolls entirely.
“Here we are again,” said labor analyst Jim Vleming of the Department of Labor & Industry. “We probably have more people jumping into the labor force at the end of school” which means fewer jobs for more people.
The county labor force gained 250 people and the county only added 30 jobs, Vleming added. Unemployment went up by 220. The labor force is now counted as 26,810.
The trend is reflected statewide, where the unemployment rate went from 5.6 to 6.1 percent because 19,000 people entered the labor force, Vleming said.
Over the year, Grays Harbor has lost 390 jobs in non-farm employment. Over the month, from April to May, the jobs increased by 180, he said.
“If we look at numbers over the last few years, there is a decline from May to June … in non-farm employment,” Vleming said, conceding, “over the years we are fighting an uphill battle.”
Pacific County also went up a few tenths of a percent, from the revised rate in April of 8.6 percent to May’s preliminary figure of 9.0 percent. That ties Pacific with Columbia County. The Pacific County labor force increased by 110 people to 8,780.
Grays Harbor and Ferry County are the only two counties in the state in double digits. Pacific County is one of 10 counties with unemployment rates in the next highest category. Lewis County is highest among the 10 with a preliminary rate of 9.5 percent and Wahkiakum is lowest, with a preliminary rate of 8.1 percent.
Erin Hart, 360-537-3932, firstname.lastname@example.org. Twitter: @DW_Erin