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Kitsap County's unemployment rate increases in August

Kitsap County's unemployment rate rose nearly half a percentage point in August.

But Elizabeth Court, who watches the county's economy for the state Department of Employment Security, attributes the increase from 7.3 to 7.7 percent unemployment to the loss of summer jobs. The state average is 8.5 percent.

"We do tend to see the summer unemployment rate drop down," she said. "It's just the same for winter hiring for the holidays."

The county also lost 500 jobs in August from the previous month, but Court said 600 jobs losses came from government jobs at the local level.

"We actually gained 100 private-sector jobs, which is very positive," she said, adding that the gains were distributed throughout the county. "We want to continue to see that grow."

Kitsap had about 82,500 jobs in August, which is about 600 fewer than the previous year. Court said most of those losses occurred in the public sector and construction. The latter recovered somewhat in August with the addition of 200 jobs.

She said the county's labor force, which consists of approximately 120,930 individuals, remains similar to July. Court said that consists of people working within Kitsap and those who live here, but commute elsewhere for work. She said about 20 percent of the county's workforce have jobs outside of Kitsap.

"The unemployment rate is down from last year, but that basically points to people commuting outside of the county," Court said.

New claims for unemployment insurance dropped from 1,029 to 851 from July to August, while continuing unemployment claims dropped from 2,204 to 1,974 during that span.

"I think overall we're seeing positive signs throughout the county," Court said. "In general, the county is doing better."

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