South Sound seasonal hiring is underway as both Pierce and Thurston counties added summertime jobs in May, according to state Employment Security Department data released Tuesday.
As a result, South Sound unemployment rates fell last month, the data show.
Pierce County’s rate fell to 6.1 percent from 6.3 percent in April, while Thurston County fell to 5.7 percent from 5.9 percent.
Pierce County added a net 800 jobs in May, with retail trade leading the way with 700 jobs, followed by construction at 500 jobs. (Some sectors lost jobs.) But job growth in the county wasn’t as good as a year ago, said state economist Paul Turek.
A year ago in May, Pierce County added 1,600 jobs, he said.
Despite the slower job creation, Turek said this year is still shaping up to be a good year in hiring.
In the past year, Pierce County added 9,900 jobs, including 3,000 jobs in professional and business services.
Thurston County, meanwhile, added 900 jobs in May, including 400 in leisure and hospitality, which was well above the 100 jobs added in May 2015, Turek said.
In the past year, the county added 3,200 jobs. The leisure and hospitality sector was responsible for 500 of them, he said.
By the numbers
Regional jobless rates for May, not seasonally adjusted:
▪ King County: 4.4 percent.
▪ Kitsap County: 5.7 percent.
▪ Thurston County: 5.7 percent.
▪ Pierce County: 6.1 percent.
▪ Mason County: 7.3 percent.
▪ Lewis County: 7.8 percent.
▪ Grays Harbor County: 8.3 percent.
Source: Employment Security Department