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Pacific County Profile



Overview | Geographic facts | Outlook | Labor force and unemployment |
Industry employment | Wages and Income | Population

Overview

Regional context

Pacific County is located in the southwestern part of the state with the Pacific Ocean on its western border. It was established as a county in 1851, and its boundaries were adjusted multiple times from 1860 to 1925. The Chinook and Chehalis tribes inhabited the area, and found their numbers greatly reduced by disease introduced by Europeans.

Local economy

Some of the early settlers arrived via shipwreck due to the difficulty in navigating the estuary at the mouth of the Columbia. The Hudson Bay Company attracted fur trappers who settled in the area. The 1845 California Gold Rush created a housing boom in San Francisco, which opened markets for timber and oysters, mainstays of Pacific County. Willapa Bay in the county is the nation’s largest farmed shellfish producer. Cranberry bogs, forest-products, manufacturing and dairy farms are also important to the counties industrial mix. Tourism is also a critical feature of Pacific County economy. In 2014, 25.8 percent of earned income came from residents working outside the county.

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Geographic facts

(Source: U.S. Census Bureau QuickFacts)

Pacific County Rank in state
Land area, 2010 (square miles) 932.66 30
Persons per square mile, 2010 22.4 24

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Outlook

Nonfarm job growth steadily declined from 2006, well before the current recession, until a slow turnaround starting in 2012. Particularly hard hit has been the goods producing sector, including manufacturing and construction. Every industry has declined from their 2006 levels except information and financial activities, which added 100 jobs. It may take several more years for the local economy to fully recover from these previous job losses given the recent growth rates.

Labor force and unemployment

(Source: Employment Security Department)

Current labor force and unemployment statistics are available on the Labor area summaries page.

Unemployment in the county remained in double digits the first two months of 2015, dropping to 8.4 percent in November. Year-over-year, it has improved every month since February 2015. The November 2014 rate was 10.4 percent. The annual average rate for the first eleven months of 2015 is 8.7 percent compared to the same period in 2014 at 10.0 percent.

The civilian labor force in the county expanded by 259 in the year ending November 2015, but still remains well below that of 2009. The number of unemployed residents dropped by 88 in that same time period.

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Industry employment

(Source: Employment Security Department)

Current industry employment statistics are available on the Labor area summaries page.

Nonfarm employment in the county is primarily in service-providing industries, with government being the largest employer. As of November 2015, service industries accounted for 4,700 of the 5,810 nonfarm jobs in the county. In the services sector, government held 1,850 jobs followed by leisure and hospitality (810) and the trade, transportation, and utilities sector (700). In the goods-producing sector, manufacturing provides the bulk of employment (740 jobs).

While annual job growth turned positive starting in 2012 (+2.1 percent), this increase in nonfarm employment continues to lag pre-recession totals. The first eleven months of 2015 have averaged 5,880 jobs compared to 2006 with an average of 6,330 jobs.

For historical industry employment data, contact an economist.

Industry employment by age and gender

(Source: The Local Employment Dynamics)

The Local Employment Dynamics (LED) database, a joint project of state employment departments and the U.S. Census Bureau, matches state employment data with federal administrative data. Among the products is industry employment by age and gender. All workers covered by state unemployment insurance data are included; federal workers and non-covered workers, such as the self-employed, are not. Data is presented by place of work, not place of residence. Some highlights:

In 2014, the largest jobholder age group in Pacific County was the 55 and older age category, making up 29.2 percent of employment across all industries. The next largest share was among persons aged 45 to 54 with 22.9 percent of employment.

In 2014, the county’s workers mirrored state patterns with workers ages 14 to 24 dominating the accommodation and food services jobs in the county with over 25.7 percent of the positions. This age group was also well represented in arts, entertainment and recreation and retail trade.

Workers in the 55 year and older age category were prevalent in mining (46.3 percent), transportation and warehousing (52.4 percent), administrative and waste management (39.1 percent) and other services (43.8 percent).

Females made up 52.4 percent of the labor force in Pacific County with males making up the difference at 47.6 percent in 2014. Men were more often represented in higher paying industries.

  • Male-dominated industries included mining (78.4 percent), construction (79.5 percent), manufacturing (70.5 percent) and transportation and warehousing (72.4 percent).
  • Female-dominated industries included finance and insurance (83.7 percent), healthcare and social assistance (79.0 percent) and professional, scientific, and technical services (72.2 percent).

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Wages and income

(Source: Employment Security Department; Bureau of Labor Statistics; Bureau of Economic Analysis; U.S. Census Bureau; U.S. Census Bureau, American Community Survey)

In 2014, there were 6,194 jobs covered by unemployment insurance in Pacific County, with a total payroll of over $204.6 million.

The county’s average annual wage in 2014 was $33,029. There were differences among industries. In 2014 the industry paying the highest wages was government, at $45,547, followed by construction ($43,430), finance and insurance ($39,382) and agriculture, forestry and fishing ($37,116). The lowest average annual wage was in the service industry where arts, entertainment and recreation wages averaged $12,567.

The median hourly wage in 2014 was $17.60, below the state’s median hourly wage of $22.61 and the state excluding King County median hourly wage of $19.85. Pacific County ranked 31st in the state in its median hourly wage in 2014.

Personal income

Personal income includes earned income, investment income and government payments such as Social Security and Veterans Benefits. Investment income includes income imputed from pension funds and from owning a home. Per capita personal income equals total personal income divided by the resident population.

Personal income in 2014 lagged both the state and nation as Pacific County’s per capita personal income was $39,374. The U.S. average was $46,049 and the state rate was $49,610. Pacific County ranked 21st in the state in its per capita personal income in 2014.

The median household income in Pacific County was $39,418 in 2010-2014 according to U.S. Census Bureau QuickFacts. The county’s median was less than the state’s ($60,294) and the nation’s ($53,482).

Over the period 2010-2014, 17.8 percent of the Pacific County’s population was living below the poverty level, compared with 13.2 percent for the state and the nation at 14.8 percent. The state and national rates are not directly comparable to the county rate because they each use different data sources.

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Population

(Source: U.S. Census Bureau)

The population of Pacific County shrank during the past decade, in contrast to overall growth statewide. The largest city is Raymond, with a population of 2,895, followed by South Bend (1,630) and Long Beach (1,410).

Population facts

(Source: U.S. Census Bureau QuickFacts)

Pacific County Washington state
Population 2014 20,560 7,061,530
Population 2010 20,920 6,724,543
Percent change, 2010 to 2014 -1.7% 5.0%

Age, gender and ethnicity

(Source: U.S. Census Bureau QuickFacts)

The population of Pacific County is considerably older than that of the state, as evidenced by the percentage in the 65 and older group.

The county is much less diverse than the state in terms of race and ethnicity, with over 89 percent white and just 1.0 percent black. Only American Indians and Alaskan Natives are more common here than in the state.

Demographics

(Source: U.S. Census Bureau QuickFacts)

Pacific County Washington state
Population by age, 2014    
Under 5 years old 4.6% 6.3%
Under 18 years old 17.0% 22.7%
65 years and older 27.9% 14.1%
Females, 2014 49.8% 50.0%
Race/ethnicity, 2014
White 89.9% 80.7%
Black 1.0% 4.1%
American Indian, Alaskan Native 3.1% 1.9%
Asian, Native Hawaiian, Other Pacific Islander 2.4% 8.9%
Hispanic or Latino, any race 9.0% 12.2%

Educational attainment

(Source: U.S. Census Bureau QuickFacts)

During the period 2010-2014, 87.5 percent of persons age 25 and older were high school graduates, similar to the 90.2 rate for the state. However, only 16.5 percent held a Bachelor’s degree or higher, compared with 32.3 percent for the state.

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