Whatcom County’s unemployment rate in April followed similar trends seen in late spring over the past several years and fell to 6.9 percent, according to preliminary estimates from the Washington State Employment Security Department.
The jobless rate from March 2013 was also revised from an initial 7.9 percent down to 7.7 percent.
The county’s private sector added an estimated 500 jobs in April 2013 since the same month one year ago, and added 600 since March 2013. Year-over-year growth in April was particularly strong in retail (up 500 jobs or 4.9 percent), manufacturing (up 300 jobs or 3.4 percent) and leisure and hospitality (up 200 jobs or 2.3 percent).
Construction employment in Whatcom County took a hit in April, similar to reports from the sector in March. The industry shed 100 jobs between March 2013 and April 2013, and 700 jobs from April 2012 to April 2013, a loss of 10.6 percent, according to the preliminary estimates.
Whatcom County’s total labor force shrunk by 3 percent between April 2012 and April 2013. State economists counted 103,540 people in the county’s labor force in their estimates for April 2013. Of those people, 96,420 are employed.
In the government sector, state agencies added 200 jobs between April 2012 and April 2013, an increase of 3.5 percent. Local agencies added 100 jobs in April 2013 from March 2013, according to the estimates. Year-over-year job growth in local government—and federal government—has been flat.
Jobless rates appear to have fallen around the state compared to earlier in the year. Out of 39 counties in Washington, 24 now have unemployment rates under 9 percent, and 10 are under 7 percent.
In northwest Washington, San Juan County posted an initial jobless estimate of 6 percent in April, Island County posted 7.4 percent and Skagit County had unemployment at 8.3 percent.
The state’s lowest jobless rate was in King County, at 4.4 percent. Snohomish County posted a 4.9 percent estimate.
The highest rate in the state was 12.1 percent, found in Grays Harbor County, which straddles the southern border of the Olympic Peninsula.
Evan Marczynski, staff reporter for The Bellingham Business Journal, can be reached at 360-647-8805, Ext. 5052, or firstname.lastname@example.org.