Northwest News

South Sound unemployment rates fall in April

April was a good month for job growth in Pierce and Thurston counties, and some of that growth may be attributed to the U.S. Open golf tournament in June.

That’s because hiring tied to leisure and hospitality, which includes hotels, rose sharply in both counties, according to state Employment Security Department data released on Tuesday.

Pierce County led the way in April as it added 2,700 jobs over the month, which lowered the county’s jobless rate to 6.2 percent last month from 6.5 percent in March.

Of those 2,700 jobs, construction showed the biggest gains in the period, adding 1,000. Leisure and hospitality followed with 700, Employment Security regional economist Jim Vleming said.

The 2,700 jobs added in April 2015 also were up from the 1,900 jobs created in April 2014, he said. In the past year, Pierce County has added 10,200 jobs, 2,600 of them in construction.

Thurston County, too, added 300 jobs between March and April, lowering the unemployment rate to 5.6 percent last month from 6 percent in March, Vleming said.

Leisure and hospitality added 600 new jobs, but after other industries shed jobs, the net result was 300 new jobs in the county for April, he said. The county added no new jobs in April 2014, Vleming said.

In the past year, Thurston County has added 4,500 new jobs, 1,200 in leisure and hospitality, Vleming said.

Seasonally adjusted unemployment rates in Washington state and the U.S. were 5.5 percent and 5.4 percent, respectively, in April.