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South Sound jobless rates rise in July

The school year ended in June, which means South Sound unemployment rates rose in July, according to state Employment Security Department data released Tuesday.

But the effect of those education-related job losses played out differently in both counties, regional economist Jim Vleming said.

Despite shedding 1,100 state government jobs last month — many of which were in education — Pierce County still showed a net gain of 300 jobs in July based on job growth in other industries. Still, those who entered the labor force to look for work after the school year ended caused the jobless rate to inch higher to 6.7 percent in July from 6.5 percent in June, the data show.

Since July 2015, the county has added 7,700 jobs. Professional and business job growth led the way with 2,100 jobs over that period.

Thurston County, meanwhile, shed 300 jobs last month, the data show. The overall results were pulled lower by a loss of 700 jobs in state government, with most of them education. Thurston’s jobless rate rose to 6.3 percent last month from 6.1 percent in June as a result.

Since July 2015, Thurston has added 3,500 jobs, with 1,000 created in trade, transportation and warehousing.

The seasonally adjusted statewide unemployment rate was 5.8 percent in July.

By the numbers

Regional jobless rates for July, not seasonally adjusted:

▪ King County: 4.4 percent.

▪ Kitsap County: 6.3 percent.

▪ Thurston County: 6.3 percent.

▪ Pierce County: 6.7 percent.

▪ Mason County: 8.1 percent.

▪ Lewis County: 8.5 percent.

▪ Grays Harbor County: 8.7 percent.

Source: Employment Security Department

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