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January unemployment rate by county released: King County has lowest at 5.2%

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Yesterday, the Employment Security Department reported that January employment data for each county is now available to view. King County was the lowest at 5.2% while the counties of Kitsap, Snohomish, Thurston, and Whatcom were also among the list of lowest unemployment rates for our state (not seasonally adjusted as the sample size is too small), with each reporting under 7%. Pierce County was not among the list of lowest rates, coming in at 7.7%. For comparison, statewide, the unemployment rate (not seasonally adjusted) is 6.9%.

In addition to the unemployment rate by county, the Employment Security Department publishes labor area summaries, which detail out in graphical form over a three-year period unemployment rates, non-farm industry employment, employment and unemployment in general, and total non-farm employment. These reports are available for each county as well as statewide.

Although Pierce County wasn’t ranked as one of the lowest in the list for January, it is worth noting that January’s number is substantially lower than it was for 2013 and 2012. However, the number is slightly higher since December of last year, but it seems to be the trend over the last two years that unemployment creeps down during the year and then rises again at the start of a new year, most likely due to company layoffs or seasonal employment ending (recall the numbers for the counties are not adjusted seasonally).

For those newly entering or re-entering the workforce after a job loss, the Employment Security Department also offers economic trending data by county on the state’s workforce including the number of people working in a given industry, earnings distribution by industry, industry projections, how many jobs each industry carries, a distribution of occupations by earnings, and projections for occupations. This is interesting information for anyone considering a new career or for those deciding on an area of focus for extended education.

These reports are published on a set schedule, which can be found here with county data for February expected to be released on March 25.