Whatcom unemployment rate jumps to 6.3 percent in June

Whatcom County’s unemployment rate jumped in June, but one large factor is more people actively looking for work.

The local unemployment rate was 6.3 percent last month, up from 5.8 percent in May and 5.7 percent in June 2015, according to data from the Washington State Employment Security Department.

The year-over-year rise in the unemployment rate happened despite the fact Whatcom County added 1,427 jobs. According to the data, 696 more people were actively looking for work locally in June than a year ago.

“The increase in the number of job seekers was enough to push the unemployment rate up to its current position,” said Anneliese Vance-Sherman, regional labor economist for the state.

Most of the major industries added jobs in Whatcom County in the past year. Exceptions were leisure/hospitality (down 300 people year-over-year), construction (down 200 people) and state government (down 100 people). A drop in both construction and hospitality is a bit unusual for June, since it is usually the busiest time of year for both industries.

Dave Gallagher: 360-715-2269, @BhamHeraldBiz