Cowlitz County’s unemployment rate squeaked down a bit in July, but state officials say that there’s still little good news in the local labor picture. The July jobless rate in Cowlitz County came in at 10.4 percent, down slightly from June’s 10.7 percent, and a full half-point below July of last year. Regional Economist Scott Bailey says that employment in the local area did increase by 300 jobs over the past month, but that’s still 200 jobs below the usual seasonal pattern. Federal officials report that Cowlitz County had 35,100 non-farm jobs in July, 500 fewer than the same period in 2012. Compared with last July, officials say that Cowlitz County has 200 fewer construction jobs and 300 fewer service sector jobs. Bailey also says that the reason for the half-point differential in the unemployment rate is completely due to people dropping out of the labor force; he also says that there’s been little change in either initial or continued unemployment claims. Wahkiakum County also had a drop in the July jobless numbers, going from 12.1 percent in June to 10.8 percent in July; statewide, the July unemployment rate came in at 6.8 percent, down from an even 7 percent in June.