Jobless rate drops to 7.8 percent in Pierce County

Staff writerApril 23, 2014 

Seasonal hiring is underway in Pierce County, which helped lower the unemployment rate to 7.8 percent in March from 8.2 percent in February, the state Employment Security Department announced Tuesday.

The county added 2,100 jobs in the February to March period, including 1,000 in leisure and hospitality, a sign that some businesses are gearing up for the summer travel season, said Jim Vleming, a regional economist with Employment Security.

The 2,100 jobs also were an improvement over last year’s county numbers, which added 1,400 jobs in the February to March period of 2013, he said.

“We’re moving in the right direction,” Vleming said.

In addition to more seasonal jobs, it’s also job fair season.

This month Saint Martin’s University and The Evergreen State College staged a career fair at Marcus Pavilion, which attracted more than 100 vendors and 400 job-seekers.

And another job fair is set for 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Tuesday at Capital Mall in west Olympia. That hiring event, which is co-sponsored by the mall, Thurston County WorkSource, Thurston County Chamber of Commerce and Pacific Mountain Workforce Development Council, will feature more than 30 employers, including Costco, Home Depot and several state agencies.

Regional jobless rates for March, not seasonally adjusted:

• King County (Seattle, Bellevue): 5.4 percent

• Kitsap County: 6.7 percent

• Thurston County: 6.9 percent

• Pierce County: 7.8 percent

• Mason County: 9.4 percent

• Lewis County: 10.7 percent

• Grays Harbor County: 11.4 percent

Rolf Boone: 360-754-5403 rboone@theolympian.com

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