Officials say the rate rose 1.5 percentage points to 8.6 percent in Whatcom County from December.
Jumps like these are typically blamed on the loss of temporary holiday related jobs.
Our area also saw the loss of 1,400 jobs.
While officials say recovery in Whatcom County has been slow, they are encouraged by general growth outside of the construction industry and the government sector.
State Employment Security Department regional economist Anneliese Vance-Sherman says if the number holds, January’s unemployment rate would be slightly higher than the 8.5 percent a year ago.
She is hopeful the final numbers will show improvement.