The Distressed Areas List identifies all counties with a three-year average unemployment rate equal to or greater than 120 percent of the statewide unemployment rate. For the period from January 2009 to December 2011, Washington had a three year average of 9.5 percent unemployment. Ten counties are on the distressed list for 2012.
Map of Distressed Counties - 2012
(January 2009 - December 2011)
Most distressed counties are considered rural (see below).
Rural Counties 2012
A rural county has a population density of less than 100 persons per square mile as defined in RCW 43.160.020 section 5 (http://apps.leg.wa.gov/rcw/). More recent legislation has expanded the definition to include counties smaller than two hundred twenty-five square miles. This addition considers Island County as rural despite a population density of more than 385 people per square mile.
The chart below shows the average unemployment from January 2009 to December 2011.