Thurston County created 600 jobs in March, but it failed to move the dial on the jobless rate, which was unchanged at 8.4 percent, according to state Employment Security Department data released Tuesday.
Government employment led the way in job growth last month, adding 200 jobs in higher education and K-12, regional economist Jim Vleming said.
Vleming, though, still expects the county’s jobless rate to fall in the coming months once seasonal hiring begins, such as in construction. Seasonally adjusted statewide unemployment was 8.3 percent in March, and the national jobless rate was 8.2 percent.
The Pierce County economy created 2,500 jobs in March, but it, too, wasn’t enough to create much of a dent in its jobless rate, which was essentially unchanged at 9.8 percent, regional economist Paul Turek said.
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The 2,500 jobs created in the February-March period – 600 in professional and business services – also was more than the 1,400 created during the same period last year, he said.
“The modest movement forward is continuing,” Turek said about Pierce County’s economy.
But if that’s the case, how come the jobless rate isn’t lower?
Because the economy isn’t growing quickly enough to absorb additional job-seekers trying to take advantage of a slowly recovering economy, he said.
The result is a jobless rate that remains elevated, Turek said.
Rolf Boone: 360-754-5403