Business Blog

Whatcom County unemployment rate rises in December

Whatcom County's unemployment rate ticked upward in December, according to the latest data from the Washington State Employment Security Department.

The unemployment rate was at 6.4 percent last month, up from a revised November rate of 6 percent.

While up in the past month, the rate is down significantly compared to December 2012 (7.1 percent) and 2011 (8.1 percent).

The local unemployment rate tends to rise from November to December with the end of the holiday shopping season and construction projects. The rate usually rises to its annual peak in January.

Whatcom County had an estimated 68,000 people employed in private sector jobs last month, down 700 compared to November. The biggest drop came in construction, which shed 500 people between November and December.

Year-over-year private sector job growth rose 2.4 percent, adding about 1,700 people to the workforce. The leisure and hospitality sector had the most growth, adding 600 people in the past year.

King County had the lowest unemployment rate in the state last month, at 4.7 percent. Snohomish checked in at 5.3 percent, while Skagit had a rate of 8.1 percent.

Grays Harbor had the highest unemployment rate in the state, at 11.6 percent.

The overall state rate, seasonally adjusted, was 6.6 percent in December while the national rate was 6.7 percent.