Whatcom’s jobless rate continues to trend downward, but the lack of job growth continues to be an issue.
In July Whatcom’s unemployment rate was 8.4 percent, down from a revised June rate of 8.5 percent. The problem is the fact Whatcom’s labor force continues to shrink: In July 94,921 people had jobs in Whatcom County, that’s down 2,303 compared to the same period in 2010.
The number of people actively seeking employment has shrunk year-over-year, according to the data from the Washington State Employment Security Department. Last month 8,752 people were actively seeking work, down 274 compared to July 2010. When the number of people employed and the number of people seeking work is both shrinking, it indicates people are either leaving the area to find work or are giving up looking.
The shrinking labor force year-over-year shows the healing is not taking place in this part of the economy, said Reinhold Groepler, a regional labor economist for the state.
In non-farm employment, several private sector industries did post year-over-year growth, including construction (up 200 people, to 6,000) and manufacturing (up 200 people, to 8,200). Government (down 200 jobs year-over-year) and financial activities (down 100) posted declines when compared to July 2010.