Pierce County shed 1,500 jobs in July, but don’t be alarmed by that figure, a regional economist said Tuesday, because most of those job losses were tied to the end of the school year.
The result was a slight uptick in the jobless rate, rising to 9 percent in July from a revised June jobless rate of 8.9 percent, according to state Employment Security Department data released Tuesday.
The county shed 2,300 public-sector jobs last month, mostly tied to state and local government education, while the private sector added 800 jobs, regional economist Paul Turek said.
“On the surface it looks bad,” he said about the data, but once people realize that it’s typical for the time of year, it “takes away a lot of that sting.”
Through July, the Pierce County economy is modestly ahead of where it was last year, having created 6,100 jobs, compared with 5,700 in the same period in 2011, he said.
“By the time we reach December we will still be ahead (in job growth) than last year, but not by a real significant amount,” Turek said. “The state of employment growth is slow, slow and steady, but that’s what we’ve got.”
Seasonally adjusted statewide unemployment was 8.5 percent in July, while the national jobless rate was 8.3 percent. A year ago in Pierce County the jobless rate was 9.7 percent.
Thurston County, too, felt the effects of the school year’s end, shedding a total of 1,800 jobs, with about 1,200 tied to education. The private sector showed small gains in construction and manufacturing, regional economist Jim Vleming email@example.com 360-754-5403