Business Blog

Whatcom unemployment rate drops to 7.1 percent

Whatcom County's unemployment rate dropped in March as the private sector added 300 jobs in one month.

The local unemployment rate in March was 7.1 percent, down from a revised rate of 7.5 percent in February. It's also down from a year ago, when the rate was at 7.5 percent, according to data from the Washington State Employment Security Department.

In the past 12 months, the local private sector added 1,700 people, with the biggest jumps coming in construction (up 300 people) and retail (up 300). Manufacturing was down 200 people, while the leisure and hospitality sector was down 100.

Much of the increase between February and March was in construction, which is typical for this time of year. According to the data, 6,000 people are employed in construction locally.

The number of people actively seeking work last month was estimated at 7,360, down 450 compared to February and down 550 compared to a year ago.

King County continued to have the lowest unemployment rate in the state at 5.2 percent last month, while Snohomish came in at 6 percent. Skagit County checked in at 8.1 percent. The highest unemployment rate was in Ferry County, at 12.8 percent.

Washington's unemployment rate, not seasonably adjusted, was 6.9 percent last month.