Thurston County unemployment rose to 6.8 percent in January from 6.5 percent in December, the state Employment Security Department announced Tuesday.
It is not unusual for the jobless rate to be higher in January because the holidays have come to an end, resulting in cuts to seasonal hiring.
In fact, the county shed 1,700 mostly service-providing jobs in the December to January period, regional economist Jim Vleming said.
But what’s surprising is that the county in the same period last year -- December 2012 to January 2013 -- shed only 200 jobs following the holidays.
The increase in the number of jobs lost this year might be because there are more retailers, or perhaps because the minimum wage is higher, he said.
It rose to $9.32 per hour in 2014.
More retailers are coming to the Olympia area.
Quick delivery sandwich business Jimmy John’s has opened near Martin Way and College Street, while Sportsman’s Warehouse and Five Guys Burgers are set to open in west Olympia on Cooper Point Road.
Three Magnets Brewing Co. is expected to open downtown and then early next year Walmart is expected to open a neighborhood grocery store on Yelm Highway in Lacey.
For those still looking for work, Saint Martin’s University in Lacey is the site of an upcoming career and internship fair, which is set for 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. April 8 at Marcus Pavilion on the Saint Martin’s campus, 5300 Pacific Ave. S.E.
The fair is co-sponsored by The Evergreen State College. The event is free and open to students, alumni and the public.
The fair will feature about 100 employers, including from private industry, government agencies and nonprofit organizations.
Ann Adams, associate dean of students and director of career development for Saint Martin’s, said the economy has improved during her nine years with the school, but good or not, students should always have a plan to enter the job market before they graduate.
Don’t think that a degree alone will get you a good job or that you can wait to search for a job after you graduate, she said.
“Those two things will work against you,” Adams said.
She recommends that students develop job contacts, seek out internships and connect with employers during their time as students, because often job openings and internships are not posted. “They want to hire who they know,” Adams said.
Those who attend the job fair are asked to wear appropriate business attire, bring multiple copies of their resume, and brush up on interview skills in advance.
A list of employers planning to attend can be found at www.stmartin.edu/careercenter/events.
Rolf Boone firstname.lastname@example.org 360-754-5403