Report: Unemployment falls to new low in December

  • Friday, January 24, 2020 11:36am
  • Business

Washington’s economy gained 10,900 jobs in December and the state’s seasonally adjusted monthly unemployment rate for December fell slightly to 4.3 percent according to the Employment Security Department.

“Washington’s labor market finished the year with a flourish” said Paul Turek, economist for the department. “The state unemployment rate fell to its lowest level ever based on the Bureau of Labor Statistics historical records dating to 1976.”

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 November’s previously reported unemployment rate of 4.4 was confirmed. November’s preliminary estimated gain of 12,200 jobs was revised to a gain of 12,800 jobs.

The national unemployment rate (revised) was 3.5 percent in December 2019. In December 2018, the national unemployment rate was 3.9 percent.

Employment Security paid unemployment insurance benefits to 69,944 people in December.

Labor force continues to grow

The state’s labor force in December was 3,956,800 – an increase of 16,700 people from the previous month. In the Seattle/Bellevue/Everett region, the labor force increased by 5,900 over the same period.

From December 2018 through December 2019, the state’s labor force grew by 133,800 and the Seattle/Bellevue/Everett region increased by 53,600.

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

Ten industry sectors expanded and three contracted

Private sector employment increased by 9,800 while the public sector increased by 1,100 jobs in December. This month’s report shows the largest private job growth occurred in retail trade up 3,300 jobs; professional and business services up 2,600 jobs; other services up 1,600 jobs; construction up 1,200 jobs and government and manufacturing both up 1,100 jobs.

Also posting increases were education and health services up 600 jobs; information up 400 jobs; leisure and hospitality up 300 jobs and transportation; warehousing and utilities up 100 jobs. The three industry sectors that posted losses were wholesale trade down 700 jobs; financial activities down 600 jobs and mining and logging down 100 jobs.

Year-over-year growth in payroll employment picks up

Washington added an estimated 77,800 new jobs from December 2018 through December 2019, not seasonally adjusted. The private sector grew by 2.6 percent, up an estimated 74,000 jobs, while public sector employment rose 0.7 percent with a net gain of 3,800 jobs.

From December 2018 through December 2019, twelve out of the thirteen major industries added jobs while one sector contracted.

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

• Information with 12,300 new jobs

• Education and health services with 12,200 new jobs

• Professional and business services with 12,000 new jobs


Talk to us

Please share your story tips by emailing editor@kentreporter.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.kentreporter.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) Please keep letters to 300 words or less.

More in Business

Amazon.com still has listings for medical equipment, but the website includes a caveat and other protections to ensure equipment is supplied to those who need it. Screenshot
Five businesses warned for price gouging

Ferguson sent cease and desist letters to five businesses, including one in Issaquah.

COVID-19 gathering restriction delays funerals

For one funeral home owner, the confusion came to a head after a recent service.

Sound Publishing operates the following titles in King County: Federal Way Mirror, Auburn Reporter, Kent-Covington Reporter, Renton Reporter, Enumclaw Courier-Herald, Kirkland Reporter, Bellevue Reporter, Snoqualmie Valley Record, Issaquah Reporter, Redmond Reporter, Bothell-Kenmore Reporter, Mercer Island Reporter and the Vashon-Maury Island Beachcomber.
Kent Reporter to suspend print publication

As the coronavirus pandemic continues to rapidly evolve across the globe, the… Continue reading

Customers buying high volume of products at cannabis shops

Retail establishments get the green light to remain open during COVID-19 pandemic.

New unemployment claims increased over 116 percent during week of March 8-14

During the week of March 8-14, 14,154 new claims for unemployment benefits… Continue reading

A flight takes off at SeaTac International Airport. Photo courtesy Port of Seattle
Port of Seattle, airlines respond to COVID-19 with new health measures

Changes at Sea-Tac Airport include more hand sanitizer, training for biohazard cleaning.

With Mount Baker and Jetty Island in the distance, a container ship approaches the Port of Everett. (Port of Everett photo)
Senate Dems: $5 million to help businesses disrupted by coronavirus

Overseas port closures hurt WA companies that depend on international shipping.

Kent’s plastic bag ban begins March 1

Customers encouraged to bring reusable bags or must pay 8 cents per bag