Whatcom Countys unemployment rate rose in August as more people began actively looking for work.
Last months local unemployment rate was 7.7 percent, up from a revised rate of 7.4 percent in July, according to new data from the Washington State Employment Security Department. While up from July, the August rate is down from a year earlier, when it was 8.3 percent.
The number of people in the workforce locally totaled 109,190 last month, up nearly a 1,000 compared to July. The number of people employed increased by 490 in the past month, while the number of people actively seeking employment increased by 420 to 8,450.
While the number of people actively seeking work increased from July to August, those seeking unemployment benefits locally continued to drop.
According to the department, initial unemployment claims totaled 1,067 locally last month, the lowest total since August 2011. People receiving continuing unemployment benefits totaled 2,140 last month, the lowest since October 2008.
In terms of job growth, the manufacturing industry continues to be one of Whatcom Countys bright spots. Last month, 9,000 people were estimated to be working in local manufacturing, the highest monthly total since September 2008.
Construction has also seen some growth, adding 600 people in the past year, along with professional services (up 500 the past year) and transportation (up 400).
Whatcoms unemployment rate remains below several nearby counties, including Skagit (9.3 percent in August), Snohomish (8.3 percent) and Island (8.5 percent). Ferry County had the highest county rate last month at 13.3 percent; San Juan had the lowest rate at 5.1 percent.
Reach DAVE GALLAGHER at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 715-2269. Visit his business blog online at blogs.bellinghamherald.com/business or get updates on Twitter at twitter.com/BhamHeraldBiz.