Payroll hiring slows in August; state unemployment rate remains 4.6 percent

  • Thursday, September 19, 2019 10:32am
  • Business

Washington’s economy gained 2,300 jobs in August and the state’s seasonally adjusted monthly unemployment rate for the month was unchanged at 4.6 percent, according to the Employment Security Department.

“The slower hiring in August tended to be broad based with more industries shedding jobs than adding them” said Paul Turek, economist for the department, “Coupled with the downward revision to July’s payroll numbers, today’s report shows weaker hiring since the start of the year.”

The Employment Security Department released the preliminary job estimates from the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics as part of its Monthly Employment Report.

The department also announced that July’s previously reported unemployment rate of 4.6 was confirmed. July’s preliminary estimated gain of 13,400 jobs was revised to a gain of 5,900 jobs.

The national unemployment rate also remained unchanged at 3.7 percent in August 2019. In August 2018, the national unemployment rate was 3.8 percent.

Employment Security paid unemployment insurance benefits to 46,149 people in August.

Labor force adds more participants

The state’s labor force in August was 3,895,600 – an increase of 10,900 people from the previous month. In the Seattle/Bellevue/Everett region, the labor force increased by 4,400 over the same period.

From August 2018 through August 2019, the state’s labor force grew by 93,200 and the Seattle/Bellevue/Everett region increased by 33,800.

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

Five industry sectors expanded and eight contracted

Private sector employment increased by 2,800 while the public sector decreased 500 jobs in August. This month’s report shows the largest private job growth occurred in education and health services up 2,800 jobs, wholesale trade up 1,400 jobs, information up 1,200 jobs and professional & business services and manufacturing both up 600 jobs. Leisure and hospitality posted the largest decline down 1,400 jobs followed by retail trade down 800 jobs, construction down 700 jobs, government down 500 jobs, other services down 400 jobs, financial activities down 300 jobs while mining and logging and transportation, warehousing abdutilities were both down 100 jobs.

Year-over-year growth in payroll employment

Washington added an estimated 65,200 new jobs from August 2018 through August 2019, not seasonally adjusted. The private sector grew by 2.2 percent, up an estimated 61,800 jobs, while public sector employment rose 0.6 percent with a net gain of 3,400 jobs.

From August 2018 through August 2019, ten out of the 13 major industries added jobs while three sectors contracted.

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

• Professional and business services with 14,200 new jobs

• Education and health services with 13,700 new jobs

• Information with 10,300 new jobs


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