Unemployment rate hits nine-year low in Washington

  • Wednesday, March 22, 2017 10:38am
  • Business

Washington’s economy added 6,100 jobs in February and the state unemployment rate fell from 5.1 to 4.9 percent – the lowest report since March 2008, according to the state Employment Security Department.

“Washington’s economy is moving forward with sustained momentum despite cutbacks in aerospace,” said Paul Turek, economist for the department. “The tech market is propelling western Washington, real estate is strong across the state and other economic segments are maintaining.”

The department released the seasonally adjusted, preliminary job estimates from the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics as part of its February Monthly Employment Report.

The national unemployment rate was 4.7 percent in February. The unemployment rate in the Seattle/Bellevue/Everett area was 3.5 percent. The February 2016 unemployment rate was 5.6 percent.

“Washington’s labor market is at or near full employment,” said Turek. “It’s creating pressure to increase wages for some businesses.”

Meanwhile, Employment Security paid unemployment insurance benefits to 77,349 people in February.

Labor force continues to grow in Puget Sound and across Washington

The state’s labor force rose to 3.68 million in February, an increase of 2,500 people from the previous month. In the Seattle/Bellevue/Everett region, the labor force increased by 3,300 over the same period.

From February 2016 to February 2017, the state’s labor force grew by 81,200 and the Seattle/Bellevue/Everett region increased by 43,400.

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

Eight sectors expand, three contract, two unchanged

Private-sector employment increase by 4,100 and government employment increased by 2,000 jobs in February.

This month’s report shows the greatest job growth occurred in construction and government with 2,000 new jobs each. In addition, professional and business services increased 1,300; leisure and hospitality added 1,100; other services was up 1,000; financial activities jumped 500; and wholesale trade and information added 100 jobs each.

Manufacturing faced the biggest reduction in February, losing 900 jobs. Transportation, warehousing and utilities cut 600; and retail trade clipped 500. Education and health services and mining and logging were unchanged.

Year-over-year growth remains strong

Washington has added an estimated 85,100 new jobs from February 2016 to February 2017, not seasonally adjusted. The private sector grew by 2.8 percent or 73,100 jobs, and the public sector increased by 2.1 percent, adding 12,000 jobs.

From February 2016 to February 2017, 12 of the state’s 13 industry sectors added jobs. Manufacturing (-7,100) was the only sectors to report job losses.

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

• Education and health services with 15,700 new jobs;

• Retail trade with 15,700 new jobs; and

• Government with 12,000 new jobs.

Check it out: ESD has new labor market information and tools, including a video tutorial to highlight popular information and data.

More in Business

State unemployment rate falls to new low

Washington’s economy added 4,500 jobs in September and the state’s seasonally adjusted… Continue reading

Novinium hires chief operating officer

Kent-based Novinium, a provider of underground electrical cable rejuvenation services to electric… Continue reading

KDP presents inaugural Award Celebration on Nov. 7

Evening to recognize businesses and people who make a difference

Free job fair comes to Highline College on Oct. 23; more than 50 employers expected

More than 50 local employers with full-time, part-time and temporary job openings… Continue reading

Brown Bear Veteran’s Day free car wash is Nov. 11

As a way of saying “thank you” to the country’s military, Brown… Continue reading

King County assessor launches taxpayer transparency tool for November election

King County Assessor John Wilson today launched his November 2018 Taxpayer Transparency… Continue reading

FedEx to hire 850 positions in Seattle to help with the holiday season

Part-time positions. Big-time potential. FedEx expects to add more than 55,000 seasonal… Continue reading

Medicare 2019 open enrollment starts Oct. 15; get help in your local community

Medicare’s 2019 annual open enrollment period for prescription drug plans (Part D)… Continue reading

Most Read