Editor’s note: The Washington State Employment Security Department has corrected elements of its January 2014 employment data for Whatcom County, and the change was significant enough to warrant an update to this article, which was first published March 11.
The initial version of this story reported that the county’s private sector had added approximately 6,000 jobs in January. In fact, labor economists put the true estimate at 2,100 private-sector jobs for that month. This article has been revised to reflect that change. Additional coverage of Whatcom County’s employment picture will come once county-level job data from February are released March 25.
Whatcom County’s jobless rate was estimated at 6.9 percent in January, according to the first county-level employment report of the year from the Washington State Employment Security Department.
The estimate reflects a typical seasonal increase in unemployment between January and last December, when the jobless rate was at 6.2 percent. But January’s rate was well below an 8.3 percent unemployment level the county saw during the same month in 2013.
Whatcom’s private sector continued adding jobs during the beginning of 2014. The county saw its private-sector employment grow 3.2 percent (adding approximately 2,100 jobs) in January, compared to last year.
Whatcom County’s January jobless estimate was the lowest out of counties in northwest Washington, according to the Employment Security Department data.
Skagit County posted an 8.7 percent unemployment rate that month. San Juan County was at 7 percent; Island County was at 7.6 percent.
Snohomish County saw 6 percent unemployment in January.
The lowest jobless estimate statewide was in King County, at 5.2 percent in January. The state’s highest estimate was seen in Ferry County in northeast Washington, at 12.9 percent.
The Employment Security Department releases two county-level job reports this month. Employment figures from February should be available on March 25.
Evan Marczynski, associate editor of The Bellingham Business Journal, can be reached at 360-647-8805, Ext. 5052, or firstname.lastname@example.org.