The unemployment rates for Pierce and Thurston counties edged up in December, according to state statistics released Wednesday.
Pierces rate rose to a preliminary 8.5 percent from a revised 8.0 percent in November, with about 393,000 people in the work force. Thats an increase of about 3,800 job seekers from the month before, statistics from the state Employment Security Department show. But the countys unemployment rate is much improved year-over-year. It was 9.3 percent in December 2011 with essentially the same number of people in the labor force.
Thurston Countys pattern on jobless rates is about the same. It increased to a preliminary 7.4 percent last month, up from a revised 6.9 percent in November. At 129,870, the size of the labor force is essentially the same. And in December 2011, the jobless rate was 8.0 percent, though the labor force had about 1,700 more people at that time. Both counties shed jobs from November to December, though Pierce County showed a gain of 800 jobs in the leisure and hospitality sector. That wasnt enough to offset the losses in construction, and state and local government, that totaled about 1,300 jobs. In Thurston County, 500 jobs were lost in state government and 400 in the broad category of service providing, with only about 100 jobs added in the private sector.
The county numbers arent seasonally adjusted, which means they fluctuate more widely due to naturally occuring changes in hiring patterns.
The state and national unemployment rates are seasonally adjusted. In December, they were 7.6 percent and 7.8 percent respectively.
DECEMBER JOBLESS BY THE NUMBERS
King County (Seattle, Bellevue): 6.2 percent.
Kitsap County: 7.0 percent.
Thurston County: 7.4 percent.
Pierce County: 8.5 percent.
Mason County: 10.2 percent.
Grays Harbor County: 12.4 percent.
Lewis County: 12.1 percent.