Don’t be alarmed at the slight uptick in Pierce County’s jobless rate last month, because the local economy showed quite a bit of job growth in the May to June period, a regional economist said Tuesday.
Pierce County’s jobless rate rose to 8.5 percent last month from 8.3 percent in May, but that only tells part of the story: The local economy also created 2,800 jobs in the period, 2,100 more jobs than in the same May to June period in 2012, state Employment Security Department regional economist Jim Vleming said.
Among the jobs created were 1,300 in the leisure and hospitality sector of the economy, a sign that the summer hiring season is underway.
Of those 1,300 jobs, 1,000 of them were tied to food and drinking services.
The slight increase in the county’s jobless rate was in line with movements at the state level: Seasonally adjusted statewide unemployment also inched up to 6.8 percent in June from 6.6 percent in May. More people entering the workforce to look for work can cause the jobless rate to bump up, Vleming said.
But finding a job still has its challenges. Just ask Kris Morley, 54, of Yelm, one of several people who meet weekly as part of a jobs leads group at the Thurston County WorkSource office in Tumwater.
The group meets Tuesdays and Thursdays, but on Tuesday both leads groups met to share stories about trying to find work in a slowly improving economy.
About 15 people met Tuesday and Morley was among them. A former administrative assistant who worked in medical claims, she now has been out of work for nearly four months.
Morley, who previously earned $41,000 a year, told the group that she was offered minimum wage — currently $9.19 per hour — by one employer, but realized she “couldn’t afford the job, because of the cost to commute from Yelm.
Morley also was one of several hundred people who recently applied for a job with State Farm at a job fair in Tacoma. Morley said she’s feeling more hopeful about getting hired there because of her past experience working in claims.
Rolf Boone: 360-754-5403 firstname.lastname@example.org theolympian.com/bizblog Source: Employment Security