Report: state unemployment rate steady at 4.5 percent

Washington economy continues to improve

  • Wednesday, December 20, 2017 2:45pm
  • Business

For the Reporter

Washington’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate held at 4.5 percent in November, despite preliminary estimates from the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) that indicate the state added 9,800 jobs over the month.

“While the unemployment rate didn’t change, Washington’s economic outlook is bright,” said Paul Turek, economist for the department. “Unemployment stands at a record low, businesses are adding jobs and more people are joining the labor force. That’s great news for everyone as we head into the holidays.”

The Employment Security Department released the seasonally adjusted, preliminary job estimates from BLS as part of its November Monthly Employment Report. The department also announced that October’s previously announced gain of 6,900 jobs was revised downward to 6,300 jobs.

In November last year, the statewide unemployment rate was 5.2 percent.

The national unemployment rate was 4.1 percent in November and 3.8 percent in the Seattle/Bellevue/Everett area.

Employment Security paid unemployment insurance benefits to 54,386 people in November.

Labor force continues to grow in Washington

The state’s labor force was 3.7 million in November — an increase of 5,200 people from the previous month. In the Seattle/Bellevue/Everett region, the labor force increased by 4,400 over the same period.

From November 2016 through November 2017, the state’s labor force grew by 98,600 and the Seattle/Bellevue/Everett region increased by 21,900.

The labor force is the total number of people, both employed and unemployed, over the age of 16.

Ten sectors expand, three contract

Private sector employment increased by 13,100 and government employment decreased by 3,300 jobs in November.

This month’s report shows the greatest job growth occurred in professional and business services up 3,800, education and health services up 2,900, and other services up 2,300. Other sectors adding jobs were wholesale trade up 1,300, construction up 1,200, transportation, warehousing and utilities up 1,000, information and manufacturing both up 900, retail up 200 and mining and logging up 100.

Government faced the biggest reduction in November, losing 3,300 jobs. Additionally, leisure and hospitality cut 1,400 and financial activities trimmed 100 jobs respectively.

Year-over-year growth remains strong

Washington has added an estimated 97,900 new jobs from November 2016 through November 2017, not seasonally adjusted. The private sector grew by 3.2 percent or 87,100 jobs, and the public sector increased by 1.8 percent, adding 10,800 jobs.

From November 2016 through November 2017, 12 of the state’s 13 industry sectors added jobs. Manufacturing (-1,500) was the only sector to report job losses.

The three industry sectors with the largest employment gains year-over-year, not seasonally adjusted, were:

• Professional and business services with 17,900 new jobs;

• Construction with 14,400 new jobs; and

• Education and health services with 13,800 new jobs.

Employment Security is a partner in the statewide WorkSource system, which offers a variety of employment and training services for job seekers, including free help with resumes, interviewing and skills training. WorkSource also helps employers advertise jobs, convene hiring events and connect with subsidized employee training.

WorkSource locations and more than 140,000 job openings can be found on WorkSourceWA.com.

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