October falls between the start of the school year and the beginning of holiday hiring, which means South Sound unemployment rates largely were unchanged last month.
Still, there was some job growth, according to state Employment Security Department data released Tuesday. For a change of pace, Pierce County shed 200 jobs last month, while Thurston County added 1,200 jobs over the same period.
The result was Pierce County’s jobless rate was unchanged in October from September at 6.1 percent, while Thurston’s inched higher to 5.8 percent last month from 5.7 percent in September. Jobless rates will sometimes move higher when more people enter the labor force, said state regional economist Jim Vleming.
Pierce County showed growth in state and local governments, but after it shed 1,700 jobs in leisure and hospitality — the county still felt the effects of the seasonal closure of the Washington State Fair — the net result was 200 jobs lost.
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Thurston County, a state worker community, experienced the opposite effect as hiring in state and local governments resulted in 1,200 jobs.
In the past year, Pierce County has added 2,000 jobs, with most of that generated in retail trade, while Thurston added 1,600 jobs over the same period, Vleming said. Most of those gains were in state government, he said.
Regional jobless rates for October
Not seasonally adjusted
▪ King County: 3.7 percent.
▪ Kitsap County: 5.8 percent.
▪ Thurston County: 5.8 percent.
▪ Pierce County: 6.1 percent.
▪ Lewis County: 7.6 percent.
▪ Grays Harbor County: 8.5 percent.
Source: Employment Security Department