March jobless rate dips in Clallam, Jefferson

By Jeremy Schwartz
Peninsula Daily News

PORT ANGELES — Service-providing jobs saw the biggest gain of all job sectors on the North Olympic Peninsula from February to March and added to a jobless rate dip in both counties, the state Employment Security Department announced Tuesday.

The estimated 140 service-providing jobs created in the two counties — 80 in Clallam County and 60 in Jefferson County — were part of a total 220 non-farm jobs created from February to March, according to preliminary departmental data.

“And that makes sense,” said Elizabeth Court, regional economist for the department.

“Service-providing jobs typically make up about 71 percent of the U.S. economy.”

The job creation month-over-month helped the Clallam County unemployment rate drop to 10.2 percent in March from February’s 11 percent, and the Jefferson County rate decrease to 10.1 percent from February’s 10.9 percent.

“This is some of the best news that’s come out for the past few months,” Court said.

Clallam County’s jobless rate improved from 11.1 percent in March 2012, while Jefferson County saw more modest gains since last year’s 10.5 percent rate.

Both counties saw less than 1 percent gains in total nonfarm jobs compared with March 2012: Clallam County gained 160 for 21,730, while Jefferson County gained 30 for 7,800.

From February to March, all job sectors in Jefferson County saw gains, while all but the transportation and warehousing and information and financial activities sectors gained jobs in Clallam County— 10 each were lost in those.

Clallam County saw the biggest percentage of job losses in the natural resources and mining sectors, going from 1,300 last March to 1,190, an 8.5 percent drop.

Clallam County’s biggest gain since March 2012 was in manufacturing jobs, gaining 130 — 8.8 percent — from 1,480 to 1,610 this year.

Jefferson County had 590 manufacturing jobs as of last March, down from 660, a 10.6 percent drop since last year — the county’s largest sector loss.

Jefferson County information and financial activities jobs saw the biggest gain since March 2012, creating 20, or 4.9 percent, compared with last year.

Slowly recovering

Court said the mixed gains and losses in individual job sectors compared with last year are a sign of an economy that is still slowly recovering.

“There are pockets where [jobs] have not come back,” Court said.

“We still haven’t made up for all the losses we experienced in 2007 through 2009.”

The statewide jobless rate sat at 7.5 percent as of last month, while the national unemployment rate as of March was 7.6 percent.

April’s county-specific jobless figures are expected May 21.

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Reporter Jeremy Schwartz can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5074, or at jschwartz@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: April 23. 2013 5:42PM
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