Each new year brings a temporary downturn in job growth as retailers cut jobs after the holidays. But as the seasons change and spring arrives, job growth returns.
That was the case in March as Pierce and Thurston counties benefited from strong job growth and unemployment rates fell below 6 percent in both counties, according to state Employment Security Department data released Tuesday.
The Pierce County jobless rate fell to 5.8 percent last month from 6 percent in February, while Thurston’s rate moved lower to 5.3 percent from 5.7 percent, the data show.
Pierce County added 2,200 jobs in March, showing growth in education and health services, professional and business services, trade, transportation and warehousing and leisure and hospitality, regional economist Jim Vleming said.
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Education and health services led the way with 700 jobs, he said.
Thurston added 900 jobs in the same period, with growth in construction, professional and business services, leisure and hospitality and government. Professional and business services added 300 jobs, Vleming said.
In the past year, Pierce County has added 8,700 jobs, with trade, transportation and warehousing leading the way with 3,400 jobs.
Thurston in the past year has added 3,500 jobs, with government adding 1,100 jobs.
Regional jobless rates for March, not seasonally adjusted
▪ King County: 3.1 percent.
▪ Kitsap County: 5.2 percent.
▪ Thurston County: 5.3 percent.
▪ Pierce County: 5.8 percent.
▪ Mason County: 7.3 percent.
▪ Lewis County: 7.6 percent.
▪ Grays Harbor County: 8.2 percent.
Source: Employment Security Department