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Washington economy added back jobs during May
OLYMPIA – Washington’s economy added 52,500 jobs in May and the state’s preliminary seasonally adjusted monthly unemployment rate for May decreased from 16.3 percent to 15.1 percent according to the Employment Security Department (ESD).
MonthTotal Jobs(1)2020(2)2019(2)
March 2020-25,4005.1 percent4.5 percent
April 2020-457,800*16.3 percent*4.4 percent
May 202052,50015.1 percent4.4 percent
(1)losses or gains (2)Unemployment Rate

"While the unemployment rate in Washington fell in May, it remained historically high as the state continued to navigate the economic fallout from the COVID-19 crisis,” said Paul Turek, economist for the department. “Over the past month, a small portion of the jobs lost during the first two months of the pandemic were recovered as the economy begins to re-open across the state.”

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 April’s previously reported unemployment rate of 15.4 percent was revised upward to 16.3 percent. April’s preliminary estimated loss of 527,000 jobs was revised to a loss of 457,800 jobs.

The national unemployment rate decreased from 14.7 percent in April 2020 to 13.3 percent in May 2020. In May 2019, the national unemployment rate (revised) was 3.6 percent.

Employment Security paid regular unemployment insurance benefits to 715,542 people in May, an increase of 145,195 over the previous month.

Labor force decreased across the state

The state’s labor force in May was 3,943,500 – a decrease of 19,800 people from the previous month. In the Seattle/Bellevue/Everett region, the labor force decreased by 8,500 over the same period.

From May 2019 through May 2020, the state’s labor force grew by 45,300 and the Seattle/Bellevue/Everett region decreased by 17,900.

The labor force is the total number of people, both employed and unemployed, over the age of 16. From April 2020 to May 2020, the number of people who were unemployed statewide decreased from 645,100 to 594,300. In the Seattle/Bellevue/Everett region, the number of people who were unemployed decreased from 247,900 to 246,300 over the same period. Ten industry sectors expanded and three industry sectors contracted in May

Private sector employment increased by 72,600 and government employment decreased by 20,100. Provided below is a summary of the job gains and losses in all thirteen industry sectors.

Industry sectorJob gains/losses
Construction30,000
Leisure and hospitality22,600
Education and health services7,000
Manufacturing5,800
Professional and business services4,100
Retail trade3,500
Wholesale trade1,200
Other services1,000
Financial services500
Mining and logging100
Transportation, warehousing and utilities-600
Information-2,600
Government-20,100

Year-over-year growth in payroll employment ceases, now turns negative

Washington lost an estimated 408,200 jobs from May 2019 through May 2020, not seasonally adjusted. The private sector contracted by 12.5 percent, down an estimated 360,100 jobs, while public sector employment contracted 8.0 percent with a net loss of 48,100 jobs.

From May 2019 through May 2020, twelve major industry sectors contracted while only the information sector added (+1,400) jobs.

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

Leisure and hospitality down 160,300 jobs

Education and health services down 55,900 jobs

Government down 48,100 jobs

COVID-19 impacts

Coronavirus (COVID-19) has had impact on the May 2020 survey data. The household survey measures labor force status, including unemployment. The establishment survey measures nonfarm employment by industry.

Check out additional COVID-19 related information and FAQs from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Labor market information

ESD has new labor market information and tools, including interactive Tableau graphics to highlight popular information and data. Check it out!

Payroll employment plummets, unemployment rate soars
OLYMPIA – Washington’s economy lost 527,000 jobs in April and the state’s preliminary seasonally adjusted monthly unemployment rate for April increased from 5.1 percent to 15.4 percent according to the Employment Security Department (ESD).

“The April jobs report numbers confirm what we already expected based on the record number of individuals who have filed for unemployment benefits since March 7,” said ESD Commissioner, Suzi LeVine. “While these numbers are dramatic, it is in alignment with what we expected as the state has taken the public health crisis seriously and is abiding by the 'Stay home, stay healthy' order. These losses are likely to continue into May, with a shift coming the other direction as our economy gradually re-opens. Employment Security, along with our partner agencies and state leaders, are committed to helping Washingtonians during this crisis and get back to work as it becomes safe to do so.”

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 March’s previously reported unemployment rate of 5.1 was confirmed. March’s preliminary estimated loss of 11,100 jobs was revised to a loss of 25,400 jobs.

The national unemployment rate (preliminary) rose from 4.4 percent in March 2020 to 14.7 percent in April 2020. In April 2019, the national unemployment rate (revised) was 3.6 percent.

Employment Security paid regular unemployment insurance benefits to 599,735 people in April, an increase of 414,277 over the previous month.

Labor force increases as more are added to unemployment rolls

The state’s labor force in April was 3,957,300 – an increase of 66,600 people from the previous month. In the Seattle/Bellevue/Everett region, the labor force increased by 3,800 over the same period.

From April 2019 through April 2020, the state’s labor force grew by 67,700 and the Seattle/Bellevue/Everett region decreased by 6,483.

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

From March 2020 to April 2020, the number of people who were unemployed statewide increased from 198,600 to 610,700. In the Seattle/Bellevue/Everett region, the number of people who were unemployed increased from 95,900 to 247,800 over the same period.

All thirteen industry sectors contracted in April

Private sector employment decreased by 498,500 and government employment decreased by 28,500.
Year-over-year growth in payroll employment ceases, now turns negative

Washington lost an estimated 485,800 jobs from April 2019 through April 2020, not seasonally adjusted. The private sector contracted by 16.3 percent, down an estimated 463,900 jobs, while public sector employment contracted 3.7 percent with a net loss of 21,900 jobs.

From April 2019 through April 2020, twelve out of the thirteen major industries contracted while only the information sector added jobs.

The three industry sectors with the largest employment losses year-over-year, not seasonally adjusted, were:
Leisure and hospitality down 190,700 jobs
Construction down 74,100 jobs
Education and health services down 59,400 jobs
COVID-19 impacts


Coronavirus (COVID-19) has had impact on the April 2020 survey data. The household survey measures labor force status, including unemployment. The establishment survey measures nonfarm employment by industry.

The information contained in the April report is reflective of workers who worked during or received pay (subject to Unemployment Insurance wages) for the payroll period which includes the 12th day of the month. For the April employment report the survey reference week was for April 12th through April 18th.
Unemployment benefits drop, hold record levels
OLYMPIA – During the week of April 12-18, there were 82,435 initial and 605,514 total claims for unemployment benefits, according to the Employment Security Department (ESD). While initial claims declined 42 percent from the previous week, the total claims continued to grow.

During the week of April 12-18, ESD paid out over $177 million to 352,909 unemployed workers, a $51.3 million increase from the previous week. Since the week ending March 7 when COVID-19 job losses began, the department has paid out nearly $496 million in benefits to Washingtonians.

“It is hard to imagine that the fifth highest week of claims in Washington state history could be considered the calm before the storm, but that is certainly what we saw last week,” said Employment Security Commissioner, Suzi LeVine. “Although remaining at historic levels, the initial claims dropped last week before the tsunami of applications began this week when we launched the expanded benefit applications under the federal CARES Act. The updates went live on Saturday night, after which we received more applications in 36-hours than we did during the entire record-breaking week at the end of March. While we know many more are struggling to apply in the crush of volume we’re receiving, we will keep working until everyone gets the money for which they are eligible.”
Weekly unemployment insurance claims up 843 percent
OLYMPIA – During the week of March 15-21, 133,464 new claims for unemployment benefits were filed with the Employment Security Department (ESD) which was an increase of 119,310 new claims over the previous week.

“This data shows the enormity of the situation unfolding in our state,” said Employment Security Department Commissioner, Suzi LeVine. “The velocity and volume of the impact of COVID-19 has created a crisis that is unprecedented in the history of the program – going back to the 1930s when it was established. To address this, I have an amazing team working hard on three very clear priorities: get benefits out more quickly to those who are eligible, expand eligibility for those who can utilize this benefit, and help employers find staff for essential jobs. The entire department is doing everything we can to meet the needs of this situation and our fellow Washingtonians.”

Weekly data breakdown

By industry
Industry sectors experiencing the highest percentage of new claims during March 15-21 were:
Accommodation and food services: 41,309 new claims, up 1,033 percent from the previous week Health care and social assistance: 18,902 new claims, up 2,103 percent from the previous week Other services: 9,626 new claims, up 2,871 percent from the previous week Retail trade: 8,700 new claims, up 1,189 percent from the previous week Manufacturing: 5,276 new claims, up 434 percent from the previous week
By county
Demonstrating the COVID-19 wave washing across the state, Spokane County experienced the highest increase, 455 to 8,766 up 1,826 percent from the week before. King County, the most populous in the state and one that had already started to see a precipitous rise in claims the prior week, saw new claims increase from 5,834 to 37,296 during the week of March 15-21, up 539 percent from the week before. All other counties experienced a spike in new claims, with some of the highest during the same period in:
Pierce County: New claims filed increased from 1,559 to 14,730 up 845 percent from the week before. Snohomish County: New claims filed increased from 1,386 to 13,692 up 888 percent from the week before.

For complete information of weekly new claims by industry sector and county for the year to date, check the weekly unemployment initial claims charts compiled by ESD’s Labor Market & Economic Analysis division. For more information about specific counties, contact one of ESD’s regional local economists.

Unemployment rate drops again, falls to record low
OLYMPIA – Washington’s economy gained 6,800 jobs in January and the state’s seasonally adjusted monthly unemployment rate for January fell to 3.9 percent according to the Employment Security Department.

“Strong hiring of household members moved the state’s low unemployment rate even lower” said Paul Turek, economist for the department. “A mild contraction in the state’s labor force added to the downward push.”

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 December’s previously reported unemployment rate of 4.3 was confirmed. December’s preliminary estimated gain of 10,900 jobs was revised to a gain of 12,300 jobs.

The national unemployment rate (preliminary) was 3.6 percent in January 2020. In January 2019, the national unemployment rate (revised) was 4.0 percent.

Employment Security paid unemployment insurance benefits to 77,784 people in January.

Labor force contracts slightly in January

The state’s labor force in January was 3,955,200 – a decrease of 1,600 people from the previous month. In the Seattle/Bellevue/Everett region, the labor force decreased by 5,100 over the same period.

From January 2019 through January 2020, the state’s labor force grew by 119,400 and the Seattle/Bellevue/Everett region increased by 42,200.

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

Nine industry sectors expanded and four contracted

Private sector employment increased by 5,700 while the public sector increased by 1,100 jobs in January. This month’s report shows the largest private job growth occurred in retail trade up 3,300 jobs, leisure and hospitality up 2,300 jobs, professional & business services up 1,900 jobs and information up 1,200 jobs. Also posting increases were manufacturing up 800 jobs, transportation, warehousing & utilities up 400 jobs and both mining & logging and education & health services up 100 jobs. The four industry sectors that posted losses were construction down 3,500 jobs, other services down 600 jobs, wholesale trade down 200 jobs and financial activities down 100 jobs.

Year-over-year growth in payroll employment occurs for most industries

Washington added an estimated 79,400 new jobs from January 2019 through January 2020, not seasonally adjusted. The private sector grew by 2.6 percent, up an estimated 74,000 jobs, while public sector employment rose 0.9 percent with a net gain of 5,400 jobs.

From January 2019 through January 2020, 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:

Professional & business services with 14,000 new jobs
Education & health services with 12,200 new jobs
Leisure & hospitality with 11,700 new jobs
Payroll hiring bounces back in November
OLYMPIA – Washington’s economy gained 12,200 jobs in November and the state’s seasonally adjusted monthly unemployment rate for November fell slightly to 4.4 percent according to the Employment Security Department.

“The November data are an encouraging sign that the state’s labor market is still doing well” said Paul Turek, economist for the department. “The previous two months had raised concerns about the continued strength of the job market, so it’s good to see it pick back up in time for the holidays.”

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 October’s previously reported unemployment rate of 4.5 was confirmed. October’s preliminary estimated loss of 1,600 jobs was revised to a loss of 800 jobs.

The national unemployment rate dipped slightly to 3.5 percent in November 2019. In November 2018, the national unemployment rate was 3.7 percent.

Employment Security paid unemployment insurance benefits to 52,750 people in November.

Job prospects keep attracting job seekers

The state’s labor force in November was 3,940,000 – an increase of 21,100 people from the previous month. In the Seattle/Bellevue/Everett region, the labor force increased by 8,200 over the same period.

From November 2018 through November 2019, the state’s labor force grew by 116,200 and the Seattle/Bellevue/Everett region increased by 47,000.

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

Nine industry sectors expanded, three contracted and one remained unchanged

Private sector employment increased by 11,000 while the public sector increased by 1,200 jobs in November. This month’s report shows the largest private job growth occurred in education & health services up 3,600 jobs, leisure and hospitality up 2,700 jobs, construction and professional & business services both up 1,900 jobs, government up 1,200 job and wholesale trade up 1,000 jobs. Also posting increases were other services up 400 jobs, and mining & logging and manufacturing both up 100 jobs. The three industry sectors that posted losses were retail trade down 400 jobs, information down 200 jobs and transportation, warehousing & utilities down 100 jobs. Financial activities was the only industry sector that remained unchanged.

Year-over-year growth in payroll employment

Washington added an estimated 66,600 new jobs from November 2018 through November 2019, not seasonally adjusted. The private sector grew by 2.1 percent, up an estimated 59,100 jobs, while public sector employment rose 1.3 percent with a net gain of 7,500 jobs.

From November 2018 through November 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 11,800 new jobs
Education & health services with 11,300 new jobs
Professional & business services with 9,800 new jobs
Labor market information
Check it out! ESD has new labor market information and tools, including interactive Tableau graphics to highlight popular information and data.
Payroll employment moves lower in October; unemployment rate slightly lower
OLYMPIA – Washington’s economy lost 1,600 jobs in October and the state’s seasonally adjusted monthly unemployment rate for October fell slightly to 4.5 percent according to the Employment Security Department.

“The labor market continues sending mixed messages this month” said Paul Turek, economist for the department. “Household members are finding jobs in spite of businesses reporting rollbacks. What’s becoming more evident overall is that hiring conditions are softening.”

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 September’s previously reported unemployment rate of 4.6 was confirmed. September’s preliminary estimated loss of 3,100 jobs was revised to a loss of 5,400 jobs.

The national unemployment rate rose slightly to 3.6 percent in October 2019. In October 2018, the national unemployment rate was 3.8 percent.

Employment Security paid unemployment insurance benefits to 45,942 people in October.

The labor market absorbs more job seekers

The state’s labor force in October was 3,922,300 – an increase of 15,200 people from the previous month. In the Seattle/Bellevue/Everett region, the labor force increased by 7,000 over the same period.

From October 2018 through October 2019, the state’s labor force grew by 100,200 and the Seattle/Bellevue/Everett region increased by 39,400.

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

Four industry sectors expanded, eight contracted and one remained unchanged

Private sector employment decreased by 1,500 while the public sector decreased by 100 jobs in October. This month’s report shows the largest private job growth occurred in retail trade up 1,300 jobs, information up 800 jobs, construction up 700 jobs and financial activities up 600 jobs. Other services posted the largest decline down 1,300 jobs followed by manufacturing down 1,100 jobs, education & health services down 1,000 jobs and wholesale trade down 800 jobs. Also posting losses were professional & business services and transportation, warehousing & utilities each lost 300 jobs while both government and mining & logging each lost 100 jobs. Leisure and hospitality was the only industry sector that remained unchanged.

Year-over-year growth in payroll employment

Washington added an estimated 67,600 new jobs from October 2018 through October 2019, not seasonally adjusted. The private sector grew by 2.2 percent, up an estimated 61,400 jobs, while public sector employment rose 1.0 percent with a net gain of 6,200 jobs.

From October 2018 through October 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 13,400 new jobs
  • Professional & business services with 10,100 new jobs
  • Education & health services with 7,800 new jobs

    Note: The Bureau of Labor Statistics recently updated its “alternative measures of labor underutilization,” or U-6 rate, for states to include the third quarter of 2019. The U-6 rate considers not only the unemployed population in the official U-3 unemployment rate, but also “the underemployed and those not looking but wanting a job.” The U-6 unemployment rate for the third quarter of 2018 through the third quarter of 2019 for Washington state was 8.1 percent. This was lower compared to the 8.4 percent U-6 unemployment rate one year prior. The U.S. U-6 unemployment rate was 7.3 percent over the same time period.
  • State adds jobs in July, unemployment rate holds steady
    OLYMPIA – Washington’s economy gained 13,400 jobs in July and the state’s seasonally adjusted monthly unemployment rate for July was unchanged at 4.6 percent according to the Employment Security Department.

    “Ordinarily this amount of gain in payroll employment would serve to chip away at the unemployment rate” said Paul Turek, economist for the department, “but the rate remained unchanged as labor force participation edged up again.”

    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 June’s previously reported unemployment rate of 4.6 was confirmed. June’s preliminary estimated gain of 6,000 jobs was revised to a gain of 7,600 jobs.

    The national unemployment rate also remained unchanged at 3.7 percent in July 2019. In July 2018, the national unemployment rate was 3.9 percent.

    Employment Security paid unemployment insurance benefits to 47,227 people in July.

    Labor force keeps growing

    The state’s labor force in July was 3,885,500 – an increase of 6,600 people from the previous month. In the Seattle/Bellevue/Everett region, the labor force increased by 2,300 over the same period.

    From July 2018 through July 2019, the state’s labor force grew by 93,600 and the Seattle/Bellevue/Everett region increased by 33,500.

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

    Twelve industry sectors expanded and one contracted

    Private sector employment increased by 10,900 while the public sector gained 2,500 jobs in July. This month’s report shows the largest private job growth occurred in government up 2,500 jobs, professional & business services up 2,100 jobs, leisure & hospitality up 2,000 jobs, construction up 1,900 jobs, education & health services up 1,400 jobs and manufacturing up 1,200 jobs. Also posting gains were information up 900 jobs, other services up 800 jobs, financial activities up 600 jobs, transportation, warehousing & utilities up 400 jobs both wholesale trade and mining & logging each up 100 jobs. Only retail trade lost 600 jobs.

    Year-over-year growth in payroll employment occurring primarily in the private sector

    Washington added an estimated 86,400 new jobs from July 2018 through July 2019, not seasonally adjusted. The private sector grew by 2.9 percent, up an estimated 82,100 jobs, while public sector employment rose 0.8 percent with a net gain of 4,300 jobs.

    From July 2018 through July 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:

    Professional & business services with 19,200 new jobs
    Education & health services with 14,800 new jobs
    Manufacturing with 9,400 new jobs
    Labor market information
    Check it out! ESD has new labor market information and tools, including a video tutorial, to highlight popular information and data.

    WorkSource
    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.

    Find WorkSource locations and more than 140,000 job openings on WorkSourceWA.com.

    Note: The Bureau of Labor Statistics recently updated its “alternative measures of labor underutilization,” or U-6 rate, for states to include the second quarter of 2019. The U-6 rate considers not only the unemployed population in the official U-3 unemployment rate, but also “the underemployed and those not looking but wanting a job.” The U-6 unemployment rate for the second quarter of 2018 through the second quarter of 2019 for Washington state was 7.8 percent. This was lower compared to the 8.9 percent U-6 unemployment rate one year prior. The U.S. U-6 unemployment rate was 7.4 percent over the same time period.
    State adds 6,000 jobs in June, unemployment rate holds steady
    OLYMPIA – Washington’s economy gained 6,000 jobs in June and the state’s seasonally adjusted monthly unemployment rate for June was unchanged at 4.6 percent according to the Employment Security Department.

    "Employment continues to expand at a healthy pace” said Paul Turek, economist for the department.“ The rise in payroll jobs over the past few months has generated more opportunities for new entrants to the labor force."

    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 May’s previously reported unemployment rate of 4.7 percent was slightly lower at 4.6 percent. May’s preliminary estimated gain of 9,600 jobs was revised to a gain of 7,600 jobs.

    The national unemployment rate rose slightly to 3.7 percent in June 2019. In June 2018, the national unemployment rate was 4.0 percent.

    Employment Security paid unemployment insurance benefits to 48,364 people in June.

    Labor force adds more people

    The state’s labor force in June was 3,879,200 – an increase of 3,300 people from the previous month. In the Seattle/Bellevue/Everett region, the labor force increased by 500 over the same period.

    From June 2018 through June 2019, the state’s labor force grew by 96,000 and the Seattle/Bellevue/Everett region increased by 34,100.

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

    Eight industry sectors expanded, one was unchanged and four contracted

    Private sector employment increased by 5,400 while the public sector gained 600 jobs in June. This month’s report shows the largest private job growth occurred in education & health services up 2,500 jobs, information up 1,600 jobs and manufacturing up 1,300 jobs. Also posting gains were professional & business services, government and retail trade all up 600 jobs, other services was up 400 jobs and transportation, warehousing & utilities up 200 jobs. The mining and logging sector remained unchanged. Construction lost 800 jobs, wholesale trade lost 600 jobs, leisure & hospitality lost 300 jobs and financial activities lost 100 jobs.

    Year-over-year growth in payroll employment occurring in the private sector

    Washington added an estimated 82,700 new jobs from June 2018 through June 2019, not seasonally adjusted. The private sector grew by 2.9 percent, up an estimated 82,600 jobs, while public sector employment was little changed with a net gain of 100 jobs.

    From June 2018 through June 2019, eleven out of the thirteen major industries added jobs while one sector contracted and one sector remained unchanged.

    The three industry sectors with the largest employment gains year-over-year, not seasonally adjusted, were:
    • Education & health services with 20,800 new jobs
    • Professional & business services with 16,200 new jobs
    • Leisure & hospitality with 12,100 new jobs


    DoLabor Contact: Paul Turek, labor economist, 360-507-9599 or Bretta Beveridge, communications manager, 360-902-9293.
    Washington's average wage tops $65,000 in 2018
    OLYMPIA – Washington’s average annual wage grew by 5.5 percent in 2018 to $65,301, according to the state Employment Security Department—representing the largest percentage increase year over year since 2006.

    The average weekly wage rose from $1,190 in 2017 to $1,255 in 2018. These figures include only those wages that are covered by unemployment insurance.

    Much of the increase was driven by an 8.0 percent increase in total earnings, which grew by nearly $15.8 billion in 2018. Overall, the average number of workers in Washington covered by unemployment insurance grew by just over 75,840 in 2018.

    The industries with the largest average wage growth in 2018 were retail trade, up 16.9 percent; information, up 13.1 percent; and professional, scientific, and technical services, up 9.7 percent.

    The average annual wage is used to calculate unemployment benefits for jobless workers. The minimum weekly unemployment benefit, calculated at 15 percent of the average weekly wage, will increase by $10 to $188, for new claims opened on or after July 1. At the same time, the maximum weekly benefit, which is the greater of $496 or 63 percent of the average weekly wage, will increase by $41 to $790.

    Currently, about 20 percent of unemployment insurance claims are paid the maximum benefit amount, and 10 percent receive the minimum.

    In addition to unemployment benefits, the average annual wage is used in computing employers’ unemployment taxes. Beginning in 2020, employers will pay unemployment taxes on the first $52,700 paid to each employee—up from $49,800 in 2019.

    The state average wage also is used by the Department of Labor & Industries in calculating worker’s compensation benefits and Employment Security’s Paid Family and Medical Leave program in calculating benefits starting in January 2020.
    Payroll hiring surged in December
    OLYMPIA – Washington’s economy added 11,400 jobs in December and the state’s seasonally adjusted monthly unemployment rate for December was 4.3 percent according to the Employment Security Department. The December unemployment rate was unchanged from the revised November 2018 unemployment rate of 4.3 percent. The December figures are preliminary and are subject to revisions.

    “Employers added the highest number of jobs since last July” said Paul Turek, economist for the department. “December’s report caps off a year that has been solid for job growth.”

    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 4.3 was confirmed. However, November’s preliminary estimated gain of 5,100 jobs was revised upward to 7,300 jobs.

    The national unemployment rate rose from 3.7 percent in November to 3.9 percent in December. In December 2017, the national unemployment rate was 4.1 percent.

    Employment Security paid unemployment insurance benefits to 65,615 people in December.

    State’s labor force keeps growing

    The state’s labor force in December was 3,812,300 – an increase of 16,300 people from the previous month. In the Seattle/Bellevue/Everett region, the labor force increased by 4,500 over the same period.

    From December 2017 through December 2018, the state’s labor force grew by 57,400 and the Seattle/Bellevue/Everett region increased by 30,600.

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

    Eleven industry sectors expanded and two sectors contracted

    Private sector employment increased by 9,800 while the public sector increased by 1,600 jobs in December. This month’s report shows the greatest private job growth occurred in construction up 2,400 jobs, transportation, warehousing & utilities up 2,100 jobs, manufacturing up 1,800 jobs, other services up as well as retail trade both up 1,100 jobs. Other industry sectors posting job growth are Education & health services up 800 jobs, leisure & hospitality, information and financial services each up 500 jobs and mining & logging up 100 jobs.

    The industry sectors that lost jobs were wholesale trade down 600 jobs and professional & business services down 500 jobs.

    Year-over-year growth in payroll employment

    Washington added an estimated 101,900 new jobs from December 2017 through December 2018, not seasonally adjusted. The private sector grew by 3.6 percent, up an estimated 98,400 jobs, while public sector employment increased by 0.6 percent with a net gain of 3,500 jobs.

    From December 2017 through December 2018, twelve of the thirteen industries added jobs, while mining & logging lost jobs.

    The three industry sectors with the largest employment gains year-over-year, not seasonally adjusted, were:
    Construction with 14,500 new jobs;
    Education & health services with 14,200 new jobs and
    Professional & business services with 12,100 new jobs
    Washington experienced continued economic growth in 2018
    OLYMPIA--Economic growth in Washington expanded in the first half of 2018, building on the 4.7 percent growth in 2017. This was the highest growth rate of any state for the second straight year, well above the 2.2 percent growth achieved by the nation.

    This report covers comparisons for 2017 annual statistics, as well as those for the first three quarters of 2018, based on the available data at the time this report was written, in the fourth quarter of 2018.

    "Our Labor Market and Economic Analysis (LMEA) team provides great resources for job seekers, employers and policy makers to make informed career, hiring or policy decisions - and this 2018 report is just one of those many resources" said ESD Commissioner Suzi Levine.

    As an overview of Washington state’s labor market and economy through the first three quarters of 2018, the report includes analyses of employment conditions and trends, unemployment, wages, income and employment projections. Economists and policy makers can use this report to track Washington’s economic trends. ESD produces the report with guidance from the Revised Code of Washington, section 50.38.040, Annual report.

    Check out this video featuring Labor Market Information Director Steven Ross and Commissioner LeVine, discussing the highlights of the report and other resources offered by the LMEA team.

    Report summary

    Data in the 2018 Labor Market and Economic Report are gathered by the Employment Security Department and other government agencies, such as the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Census Bureau, as well as from the private sector.

    Here are just a few of the key findings in the report:

    December 2018 Year-Over-Year Job Growth – Washington recorded the third highest annual average gain of job growth at 3 percent and a year-over-year increase of 3.1 percent. The Seattle metro area accounted for about 63 percent of the state’s net increase -- slightly more than its share of the state’s employment base.
    Every major industrial sector, except for mining and logging, added jobs.
    The state unemployment rate was 4.4 percent in September 2018 compared to the U.S. rate of 3.7 percent. Washington’s unemployment rate of 4.4 percent at the time was at an historical low for the state based on the statistical series maintained by the Bureau of Labor Statistics dating back to 1976.

    Total nonfarm employment in Washington state is expected to grow at an average annual rate of 1.59 percent until 2026. Computer and mathematical occupations, management occupations and building and grounds cleaning and maintenance occupations were projected to grow faster than other occupational groups from 2016 to 2026. By 2026, office and administrative support occupations are projected to comprise the largest share of total occupational employment.

    Based upon the most recently published annual data, the median household income in Washington, as measured in 2017 dollars, rose by 14.3 percent from 2013 to 2017.
    Job gains were greatest in occupations that paid between $12 and $17.99 per hour.
    From 2001 to 2017, jobs paying an hourly wage of $54 and above grew faster than jobs in middle and lower wage categories.

    Report compiled from 2018 Labor Market and Economic Annual Report, produced by the Washington State Employment Security Department (ESD),
    Nonfarm Payroll Employment Rises in March
    OLYMPIA – Washington’s economy gained 27,900 jobs in March and the state’s seasonally adjusted monthly unemployment rate for March rose slightly to 4.6 percent according to the Employment Security Department. The revised estimated February 2019 unemployment rate was unchanged at 4.5 percent.

    “The recent winter events have forced a great deal of volatility into the estimates” said Paul Turek, economist for the department. “I anticipate job growth will even out and settle down as the year progresses.”

    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 February’s previously reported unemployment rate of 4.5 percent was confirmed. However, February’s preliminary estimated loss of 8,700 jobs was revised to a loss of 14,400 jobs.

    The national unemployment rate was 3.8 percent in February and March 2019. In March 2018, the national unemployment rate was 4.0 percent.

    Employment Security paid unemployment insurance benefits to 68,651 people in March.

    More people continue to move into the labor force

    The state’s labor force in March was 3,862,100 – an increase of 13,000 people from the previous month. In the Seattle/Bellevue/Everett region, the labor force increased by 5,700 over the same period.

    From March 2018 through March 2019, the state’s labor force grew by 96,400 and the Seattle/Bellevue/Everett region increased by 34,700.

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

    Twelve industry sectors expanded and one contracted

    Private sector employment increased by 28,400 while the public sector lost 500 jobs in March. This month’s report shows private job growth occurred in construction up 14,800 jobs, education & health services up 3,700 jobs, professional & business services up 2,900 jobs, leisure & hospitality up 1,400 jobs, other services up 1,300 jobs and wholesale trade up 1,100 jobs. Also posting job gains are information up 900 jobs, manufacturing up 800 jobs, retail trade up 600 jobs, transportation, warehousing & utilities up 600 jobs, financial activities up 200 jobs and mining & logging up 100 jobs.

    Year-over-year growth in payroll employment moves back up

    Washington added an estimated 81,600 new jobs from March 2018 through March 2019, not seasonally adjusted. The private sector grew by 3.2 percent, up an estimated 88,100 jobs, while public sector employment decreased by 1.1 percent with a net loss of 6,500 jobs.

    From February 2018 through February 2019, twelve out of the thirteen major industries added jobs and one contracted.

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

    Education & health services with 19,500 new jobs
    Leisure & hospitality with 12,700 new jobs
    Construction with 12,600 new jobs
    Nonfarm payroll employment reverses course in February, sheds jobs
    OLYMPIA – The WA Dept. of Employment Security reports that Washington’s economy lost 8,700 jobs in February and the state’s seasonally adjusted monthly unemployment rate for February was 4.5 percent according to the Employment Security Department. The February unemployment rate was unchanged from the revised January 2019 unemployment rate of 4.5 percent. The January figures are preliminary and are subject to revisions.

    “After two strong months of payroll growth, February’s employment numbers are disappointing” said Paul Turek, economist for the department. “The result was not mirrored in the unemployment rate numbers, however, perhaps making it not as dire as it seems.”

    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 January’s previously reported unemployment rate of 4.5 percent was confirmed. However, January’s preliminary estimated gain of 12,300 jobs was revised downward to 10,400 jobs.

    The national unemployment rate declined from 4.0 percent in January to 3.8 percent in February. In February 2018, the national unemployment rate was 4.1 percent.

    Employment Security paid unemployment insurance benefits to 73,688 people in February.

    State’s labor force adds, employs more people

    The state’s labor force in February was 3,849,800 – an increase of 14,000 people from the previous month. In the Seattle/Bellevue/Everett region, the labor force increased by 5,400 over the same period.

    From February 2018 through February 2019, the state’s labor force grew by 90,900 and the Seattle/Bellevue/Everett region increased by 31,200.

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

    Three industry sectors expanded and ten contracted

    Private sector employment decreased by 7,900 while the public sector lost 800 jobs in February. This month’s report shows private job growth occurred in retail trade up 1,200 jobs, information up 1,100 jobs and financial activities up 1,000 jobs. The industry sectors posting the decreases were construction which lost 3,400 jobs, other services lost 2,000 jobs, education & health services lost 1,300 jobs, while both professional & business services and leisure & hospitality each lost 1,200 jobs. Other industry sectors posting job losses wholesale trade losing 500 jobs, manufacturing losing 300 jobs and mining & logging losing 100 jobs.

    Year-over-year growth in payroll employment dips

    Washington added an estimated 64,400 new jobs from February 2018 through February 2019, not seasonally adjusted. The private sector grew by 2.6 percent, up an estimated 70,700 jobs, while public sector employment decreased by 1.1 percent with a net loss of 6,300 jobs.

    From February 2018 through February 2019, ten out of the thirteen major industries added jobs, one contracted and two were unchanged.

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

    Education & health services with 16,900 new jobs
    Manufacturing with 10,600 new jobs
    Leisure & hospitality with 10,300 new jobs
    Strong payroll hiring continues into January
    OLYMPIA – Washington’s economy added 12,300 jobs in January and the state’s seasonally adjusted monthly unemployment rate for January was 4.5 percent according to the Employment Security Department. The January unemployment rate was unchanged from the revised December 2018 unemployment rate of 4.5 percent. The January figures are preliminary and are subject to revisions.

    “The positive momentum in the state’s labor is being sustained for now” said Paul Turek, economist for the department. “The number of jobs added the last two months is impressive.”

    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 December’s previously reported unemployment rate of 4.3 percent was revised upward to 4.5 percent. However, December’s preliminary estimated gain of 11,400 jobs was revised to a gain of 13,800 jobs.

    The national unemployment rate rose slightly from 3.9 percent in December to 4.0 percent in January. In January 2018, the national unemployment rate was 4.1 percent.

    Employment Security paid unemployment insurance benefits to 73,119 people in January.

    State’s labor force keeps growing

    The state’s labor force in January was 3,836,000 – an increase of 13,000 people from the previous month. In the Seattle/Bellevue/Everett region, the labor force increased by 6,600 over the same period.

    From January 2018 through January 2019, the state’s labor force grew by 83,500 and the Seattle/Bellevue/Everett region increased by 28,400.

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

    Eight industry sectors expanded, four contracted and one was unchanged

    Private sector employment increased by 12,000 while the public sector added 300 jobs in January. This month’s report shows the greatest private job growth occurred in education & health services up 3,900 jobs, leisure & hospitality up 3,100 jobs, retail trade and construction both up 1,900 jobs and professional & business services up 1,200 jobs. Other industry sectors posting job growth are financial activities up 800 jobs, wholesale trade up 500 jobs and government up 300 jobs. Mining & logging remained constant. The industry sector posting the largest decrease was information losing 900 jobs followed by transportation, warehousing & utilities losing 200 jobs and both manufacturing and other services each losing 100 jobs.

    Year-over-year growth in payroll employment

    Washington added an estimated 83,700 new jobs from January 2018 through January 2019, not seasonally adjusted. The private sector grew by 3.3 percent, up an estimated 89,800 jobs, while public sector employment decreased by 1.0 percent with a net loss of 6,100 jobs.

    From January 2018 through January 2019, eleven out of the thirteen major industries added jobs, one contracted and one was unchanged.

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

    Education & health services with 20,200 new jobs and
    Construction with 14,100 new jobs;
    Manufacturing with 12,100 new jobs