Whatcom’s unemployment rate rose in December to 6.9 percent, according to the latest data from the Washington State Employment Security Department.
That’s up from a revised November rate of 6.5 percent, but down significantly from December 2011, when the rate was 7.9 percent.
The end of the holiday shopping season and the layoff of temporary workers is a factor. Initial claims for unemployment benefits in Whatcom County totaled 1,914 in December, up nearly 500 people from November.
The number of people employed in nonfarm, private sector jobs totaled 65,900 in December, down 700 from November but up 1,700 compared to a year ago.
Whatcom’s unemployment rate remains below several nearby counties, including Skagit (9.1 percent) and Island (7.9 percent). Snohomish (6.7 percent) and King (6.1 percent) checked in with lower rates. The county with the highest unemployment rate last month was Ferry (13 percent), while Whitman (5.4 percent) had the lowest. The statewide rate, seasonably adjusted, was 7.6 percent last month.