Grays Harbor leads counties again in unemployment

Grays Harbor again has the highest unemployment rate of the state’s 39 counties — 11 percent in August.

Statewide, the rate was 6.8 percent, unchanged from the month before. The falling statewide rate has forced the state to relinquish up to nine weeks of long-term unemployment benefits, which locally affected more than 200 workers.

Grays Harbor’s 11 percent is one point lower than the revised figure of 12 percent for August of last year, and nudged down from the revised 11.4 percent rate for July.

In Pacific County, the August rate was 9.6 percent, down from the revised figure of 10.3 percent in July. Pacific County’s figure has also dropped almost an entire point from the revised August 2012 figure of 10.5 percent.

The five counties with the highest unemployment in August were Grays Harbor, Lewis County with 10.5 percent, Ferry with 10.3 percent, Pacific, Pend Oreille and Cowlitz, which are tied with 9.5 percent.

Ron Schmidt, co-manager for WorkSource in Grays Harbor and Pacific Counties, said the numbers did have some good news. “The good news is that (Grays Harbor) labor force has increased from 27, 820 in July to 27,930 in August for a gain of 110 (workers),” he wrote in an email. The labor force had diminished by 220 from July to July. This can often mean people have given up looking for work or left the area. Pacific County also saw an increase in it’s labor force.

Events for Older Workers

In recognition of National Employ Older Workers Week, WorkSource has scheduled several events this week aimed at helping workers aged 55 and older find work.

The number of unemployed older workers has steadily climbed in the state since 2006, and by June of 2013, only 26 percent of those who have run out of unemployment benefits have found work here. The average earnings for those re-employed a year later were roughly half of their pre-layoff wages, according to the state WorkSource office.

“Job hunting is a skill and many older workers aren’t up to speed on the latest job-search techniques,” said Dale Peinecke, commissioner for the Employment Security Department. “WorkSource offers a friendly atmosphere where older works can come learn about resumes, interviewing, networking, training opportunities and other tips to land a job.”

To find out about specific events for Grays Harbor and Pacific Counties, please visit the WorkSource site,, and click the Calendar Workshops & Events icon.