South Sound unemployment numbers plunge in June

Good times are here, right?

At face value that would appear to be the case as the monthly unemployment rate for June fell sharply in both Pierce and Thurston counties.

In fact, the county jobless rates, which are not seasonally adjusted, fell to a level not seen since before the recession, which technically began in 2007 and then deepened in 2008.

Pierce County’s jobless rate fell to 6 percent last month — down from a revised 7.1 percent unemployment rate in May — and was down from 8.2 percent in June 2013, according to state Employment Security Department data released Tuesday.

The county also added 1,600 jobs in the May-to-June period, with the construction industry leading the way with 1,100 jobs in the period, said Jim Vleming, a regional economist with Employment Security.

Pierce County also has added 9,800 jobs in the past year, which translates to a job growth rate of 3.5 percent, higher than the state as a whole at 2.8 percent, he said.

Thurston County saw its jobless rate fall to 5.2 percent last month, which was down from a revised 6.2 percent unemployment rate in May and 7.2 percent in June 2013, the data show.

But lift the covers in Thurston County and the economic picture isn’t that pretty.

For the second consecutive month, the county showed no gain in nonfarm jobs, Vleming said. That doesn’t mean that no jobs were created in the May-to-June period; it just means that there was also a corresponding number of jobs lost to result in no net gain. Combine no gain with people dropping out of the labor force in May and June, and the jobless rate falls to 5.2 percent, he said.

Seasonally adjusted Washington state unemployment fell to 5.8 percent last month, while the national jobless rate was 6.1 percent in June.