South Sound adds jobs for the holidays in November

Seasonal hiring for the holidays stood out in November as Pierce and Thurston counties added 2,200 jobs in retail trade, according to unemployment data released Tuesday by the state Employment Security Department.

Although both counties added jobs in November, unemployment rates were unchanged from October at 5.7 percent in Pierce County and 5.3 percent in Thurston County.

The bigger story was job creation, including those retail jobs added for the holiday shopping season.

Pierce County added 2,000 jobs in November, showing a gain of 1,700 in retail trade. Thurston County’s job growth wasn’t as strong, but the county still created 500 retail jobs. After other industries in the county shed jobs, the net result was 400 jobs created in November, said regional economist Jim Vleming.

The Pierce County economy in the past year has created 7,500 jobs, including 2,100 in retail trade and 1,100 in professional and business services. In Thurston County over the same period, the county added 3,300 jobs, including 500 in government and 200 in construction, Vleming said.

The seasonally adjusted statewide unemployment rate in November was 5.3 percent. The national unemployment rate was 5 percent.

By the numbers

Regional jobless rates for November, not seasonally adjusted:

▪ King County: 4.6 percent.

▪ Kitsap County: 5 percent.

▪ Thurston County: 5.3 percent.

▪ Pierce County: 5.7 percent.

▪ Mason County: 6.9 percent.

▪ Lewis County: 7.5 percent.

▪ Grays Harbor County: 8 percent.

Source: Employment Security Department