South Sound unemployment rates fall as region adds jobs

South Sound unemployment rates fell in September, thanks to the Washington State Fair and the start of the school year, according to state Employment Security Department data released Tuesday.

Pierce County led the way, adding 3,000 jobs last month. And most of those jobs — 1,100 — were tied to the Washington State Fair. The county’s jobless rate, at least in September, fell sharply to 6 percent from 6.5 percent in August, the data show.

In the past year, the county has added 6,800 jobs with 2,200 created in retail trade, transportation and warehousing, regional economist Jim Vleming said Tuesday. He said 1,500 were in retail trade.

Thurston County added only 100 jobs last month. The start of the school year added 900 jobs in government, but other employment categories shed jobs, resulting in a net gain of 100, Vleming said. The county’s jobless rate fell to 5.7 percent last month from 5.9 percent in August.

In the past year, Thurston has added 2,300 jobs. Most of those were created in government, Vleming said.

Regional jobless rates for September, not seasonally adjusted

▪ King County: 4 percent

▪ Kitsap County: 5.7 percent

▪ Thurston County: 5.7 percent

▪ Pierce County: 6 percent

▪ Lewis County: 7.7 percent

▪ Mason County: 8 percent

▪ Grays Harbor County: 8.2 percent

Source: Employment Security Department