WHATCOM COUNTY, Wash. -- Whatcom County's population continues to show sluggish growth. The county grew by only 0.69 percent over last year according to new figures from the State Office of Financial Management. Bellingham/Whatcom Chamber of Commerce President Ken Oplinger says the county is currently growing at about half its normal rate. He says one reason for the slow population growth is because cities like Bellingham aren't doing enough to encourage job growth. Oplinger also says the down economy is causing fewer people to move to the northwest. He says the county will eventually return to a normal rate of growth. The state estimates show Whatcom County has a population of about 203,500 this year - an increase of 1400 people over last year's estimate.