Unemployment Rate Jumps in Lewis County

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The seasonal jump in unemployment appears to be hitting Lewis County and the surrounding areas with equal force, although it’s not as powerful as in previous years.

The Washington State Employment Security Department reported Tuesday that Lewis County’s unemployment rate jumped to 9.6 percent in October from a revised figure of 8.1 percent in September. It’s a half-percentage point better than last October’s unemployment rate of 10.1 percent, but Lewis County still maintains the state’s second-worst jobless figure.

Employment Security reported that the total number of people working in Lewis County dropped slightly from 25,780 to 25,600 — a net loss of 180 jobs total. The total labor force grew while fewer people held down steady work, leading to the rise in unemployment rate. Lewis County’s labor force as of October was an estimated 28,310, compared to 28,050 in September.

In September 2,270 people were unemployed, but in October 440 more people found themselves without work.

Notably, the labor force in Lewis County was larger last October than this year by 130 more people, with only 25,560 people employed. 

Unemployment is defined by the state as people who are seeking work and receiving benefits while doing so.

In Lewis County, October marks the seventh straight month the unemployment rate has stayed below the 10 percent mark, with the last over-10 percent jobless rate coming in March with 10.6 percent.

Data breaking down each job sector’s gains and losses was unavailable on the Employment Security Department website Tuesday afternoon.

Meanwhile, Grays Harbor County maintains the unenviable position of having the state’s worst unemployment rate, checking in at 9.9 percent. The county which is home to Aberdeen, Hoquiam and Cosmopolis saw its labor force grew by 470 people from 27,080 to 27,550 from September to October. The total number of people employed dropped by 190, from 10,630 to 10,440.

Grays Harbor County saw its unemployment rate drop from an October 2013 figure of 10.9 percent.

Even areas with much lower unemployment rates felt the beginning of the seasonal bump, with prime evidence of such being Thurston County, which maintains one of the state’s lower jobless rates. A September figure of 5.4 percent unemployment rose nearly a full point to 6.3 percent last month, with their labor force growing while the number of employed people in the county took a slight dive.

Washington state as a whole saw its jobless rate jump slightly month over month from 5.4 percent in September to 5.8 percent in October. Washington state’s labor force and unemployment base both rose from the previous month, Employment Security reported.

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