After a disappointing August, the South Sound economy got back on track in September as jobs were created and unemployment rates fell, according to new data released by the state Employment Security Department on Tuesday.
Pierce County added 2,000 jobs in September, showing seasonal gains in education as well as leisure and hospitality. Those jobs are thought to be tied to the Washington State Fair, regional economist Jim Vleming said.
The job growth helped to lower the county’s jobless rate to 5.7 percent last month from 6 percent in August, the data show.
Thurston County, too, added 600 jobs last month, including 500 in government and education, he said. The county’s jobless rate fell to 5.4 percent from 5.6 percent, the data show.
Although both counties added jobs in September, the gains fell short of last year’s job growth for September 2014. That month, Pierce County added 4,500 jobs and Thurston County 1,400 jobs, Vleming said.
A year ago Pierce County’s unemployment rate was 6.9 percent and Thurston County’s was 6.4 percent, the data show.
Statewide seasonally adjusted unemployment for September was 5.2 percent. The national jobless rate was 5.1 percent.
By the numbers
Regional jobless rates for September, not seasonally adjusted:
▪ King County: 3.9 percent
▪ Kitsap County: 5 percent
▪ Thurston County: 5.4 percent
▪ Pierce County: 5.7 percent
▪ Mason County: 7.2 percent
▪ Lewis County: 7.1 percent
▪ Grays Harbor County: 7.8 percent
Source: Employment Security Department