The Pierce County economy shed jobs in November, resulting in a slightly higher unemployment rate, according to state Employment Security Department data released Wednesday.
The jobless rate rose to 7.9 percent from a revised 7.8 percent rate in October after the county shed 300 jobs in the October-to-November period, the data show.
Regional economist Paul Turek called it a “mild step back” for the local economy because, in the same period last year, the county added 200 jobs. This year, the private sector shed 800 jobs in the October-to-November period, while the public sector added 500 jobs in the same period, he said.
The net loss of 300 jobs could be a sign that business owners are looking for more clarity about the country’s near-term fiscal policy before they invest in new employees, Turek said. Still, there were some bright spots.
• November’s 7.9 percent jobless rate was still at a multi-year low for Pierce County, and was much improved over the 8.8 percent jobless rate reported in November 2011.
• Although many private-sector industries shed jobs last month, the category known as retail trade added 500 seasonal holiday jobs to payrolls.
Meanwhile, Thurston County’s jobless rate also bumped up to 6.9 percent in November from a revised 6.7 percent in October.
Thurston County shed jobs in the same period, too, losing 500, regional economist Jim Vleming said. Still, the local economy has created 300 more jobs than this same time last year, he said, and the 6.9 percent jobless rate was lower than the 7.5 percent reported in November 2011.
“Good news is coming in small doses, but we’re getting there,” Vleming said.
Seasonally adjusted statewide unemployment was 7.8 percent in November. The national unemployment rate was 7.7 percent last month.
Not seasonally adjusted:
• King County (Seattle, Bellevue): 6.5 percent.
• Kitsap County: 6.5 percent.
• Thurston County: 6.9 percent.
• Pierce County: 7.9 percent.
• Mason County: 9.1 percent.
• Grays Harbor County: 11.4 percent.
• Lewis County: 11.5 percentRolf Boone: 360-754-5403 email@example.com theolympian.com/bizblog