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Distressed Areas and Rural Counties in Washington

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 2006, Washington had a three year average of 6.4 percent unemployment, down from 7.0 in 2005. The 15 counties on the distressed list have a rate of 7.7 percent or more. In 2003, 19 counties were on the distressed list. In 2004 that number dropped to 17. For 2005, Franklin and Chelan counties dropped from the list and Wahkiakum County was added. In 2006, Clark county dropped from the distressed list. See the map and chart below for details.

Map of Distressed Counties - 2006

Map of 2006 distressed counties

Source: Washington State Employment Security Department

All distressed counties are considered rural (see below).

Rural Counties 2006

A rural county has a population density of less than 100 persons per square mile as defined in RCW 43 160 020 section 12 (

Rural counties in WA map

Source: Washington State Office of Financial Management

The chart below shows the average unemployment from January 2003 to December 2005.

chart of 3 year average unemployment in WA by county