Harbors end year with uptick in jobless rate

The Twin Harbors ended 2012 as they began it — with among the highest unemployment rates in the State of Washington.

In December, Grays Harbor’s jobless rate increased 1 percent to 12.4, the second-highest in the state. Pacific County increased 1.1 percent to 11.8, putting it in a tie with Pend Oreille County for the sixth-highest rate.

Counties in Southwest and Northeastern Washington continue to struggle with high jobless rates, accounting for all but three of the state’s 10 highest unemployment rates.

The statewide jobless rate ticked up .4 percent to 7.7, while Whitman County logged the lowest jobless rate at 5.4 percent — less than half of Pacific County’s number.

Jobless rates on the Harbors have been among the 10 highest statewide throughout the year, with Grays Harbor County particularly hard-hit. Grays Harbor spent several months either tied for or outright holding the highest rate in the state. It spent the rest of the year in the number two spot.

In December, the highest jobless rate fell to Ferry County at 13 percent. Grays Harbor, Stevens and Wahkiakum (both at 12.2) and Lewis County (12.1) rounded out the top five. Pacific and Pend Oreille counties were followed by Franklin (11.5), and Skamania, Yakima and Grant counties (all at 11.2 percent.)

None of the numbers — including the statewide rate — are seasonally adjusted. The state Employment Security Department does not release seasonally adjusted rates for counties.

Grays Harbor’s unemployment rate peaked for 2012 in March at 14.1 percent, but had been below 12 percent for three straight months until December. Pacific County’s jobless rate also peaked in March at 13.4 percent, and that county had seen three straight months below 11 percent until the most recent numbers were released.