Pierce, Thurston counties see lower jobless rates in April
Pierce County’s unemployment rate fell sharply in April, down to 9 percent from 9.5 percent in March, another sign that the Pierce County economy is slowly improving, according to state Employment Security Data released Tuesday.
Although the jobless rate fell, the county added only 100 net jobs in the March-to-April period, compared to 1,800 in the same period a year ago, regional economist Paul Turek said.
But Turek expects the number of jobs created in April will eventually be revised upward based on the jobs-creating trend so far this year. Since January, 4,600 jobs have been created in Pierce County, helping to chop away at the county unemployment rate, he said.
“We’re still moving forward,” Turek said.
Professional and business services added the most jobs in the period with 400, while the biggest decline was in education and health services, he said. Seasonally-adjusted statewide unemployment, which was released last week, also fell to 8.1 percent from 8.3 percent, despite losing 300 jobs. The national unemployment rate was 8.1 percent. Based on the downward movement in the statewide unemployment rate, economists expect the revised data will show job gains, not job losses. The state always releases a preliminary jobless rate and then a revised figure the following month.
Thurston County, too, saw its jobless rate fall in the March-to-April period, down to 7.7 percent from 8.3 percent. The county also got closer to having more than 100,000 nonfarm jobs, a figure the county hasn’t been close to since January 2009, regional economist Jim Vleming said.
Vleming said the county was just under that figure in April, but expects the county will be above it next month.
The county created 400 jobs last month, including gains in construction, leisure and hospitality, professional and business services and retail trade. Three-hundred jobs were lost in government.