ABERDEEN, Wash. - Unemployment numbers in Grays Harbor lost almost an entire percentage point in September, but the county is still tied for the highest unemployment in the state. Grays Harbor dropped from 12.8% in August to 12% for September, a tie with Ferry county. However, Executive Director of Greater Grays Harbor Inc, Tim Gibbs told the Montesano council last night "It's an incomplete equation, we have 28,600 people working in Grays Harbor and about 2 years ago we had over 30,000. So we've got less people on the workforce but our unemployment rate is going down, and our population is somewhat stable."
Gibbs continued "That means one of a couple different things, we've got some people falling off the roles that are no longer eligible for benefits -that's probably the main answer, and there's been some folks that have moved away."
Gibbs noted that large successes like Harbor Paper and Hoquiam Plywood have added 500 industrial jobs over the last two years, however the harbor has seen a lot of attrition "So where we may add industrial jobs we're loosing jobs across the board on smaller levels and it's held our unemployment numbers higher than we want them to be."
Gibbs also took the opportunity last night to invite the Montesano council to the community celebration for Harbor Paper next week, On Monday Washington Governor Christine Gregoire and State Representative Norm Dicks will tour and speak at the newly re-opened paper mill.