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Hiring strengthens in June
OLYMPIA – Washington’s economy added 24,100 jobs in June and the state’s preliminary seasonally adjusted monthly unemployment rate stayed constant 5.2 percent from May to June, according to the Employment Security Department (ESD).

*Revised from previous preliminary estimates. Preliminary monthly estimates for jobs losses or gains are based on a small Bureau of Labor Statistics payroll survey while actual figures reported the following month are based on a more complete survey.

“The labor market recovery picked up some speed this month after slowing over the previous two months” said Paul Turek, economist for the department. “Job opportunities are rising as the economy reopens over the summer.”

ESD 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 5.3 percent was revised to 5.2 percent. May’s preliminary estimated gain of 8,300 jobs was revised upward to a gain of 9,100 jobs.

The national unemployment rate rose slightly from 5.8 percent in May to 5.9 percent in June. In June 2020, the national unemployment rate (revised) was 11.1 percent.

ESD paid unemployment insurance benefits to 359,966 people in June, a decrease of 34,254 over the previous month.

Employers luring more workers back to the job market

The state’s labor force in June was 3,889,100 – an increase of 15,600 people from the previous month. In the Seattle/Bellevue/Everett region, the labor force increased by 300 over the same period.

From June 2020 to June 2021, the state’s labor force increased by 11,500 while the Seattle/Bellevue/Everett region increased by 30,400.

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

From May to June, the number of people who were unemployed statewide decreased slightly from 203,200 to 203,000. In the Seattle/Bellevue/Everett region, the number of people who were unemployed increased from 89,400 to 90,100 over the same period.

Nine industry sectors expanded, three industry sectors contracted and one industry sector remained constant in June

Private sector employment increased by 20,000 jobs while government employment increased by 4,100 jobs. Provided below is a summary of the job gains and losses in leading and trailing thirteen industry sectors.

Industry sector Job gains/losses
Education and health services + 8,200
Professional and business services + 5,600
Leisure and hospitality + 4,100


Declining sectors were 0
Other services - 200
Manufacturing - 400
Financial activities - 700


Leisure and hospitality jobs are in high demand

Washington gained an estimated 197,000 jobs from June 2020 – June 2021, not seasonally adjusted. Private sector employment rose by 6.9 percent, up an estimated 181,600 jobs, while public sector employment rose by 2.8 percent, up an estimated 15,400 jobs.

From June 2020 – June 2021, twelve major industry sectors expanded while one industry sector contracted.

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

Leisure and hospitality up 56,500 jobs
Education and health services up 42,100 jobs
Retail trade up 31,000 jobs

The one industry sector which contracted year-over-year, not seasonally adjusted, was manufacturing, down 13,200 jobs

Note: The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) recently updated its “alternative measures of labor underutilization” for states to include annual averages for 2020. One such alternative measure is the U-6 rate, which considers not only the unemployed population in the official “U-3” unemployment rate, but also marginally attached workers and those employed part time for economic reasons. The U-6 rate is defined by BLS as the “total unemployed, plus all marginally attached workers, plus total employed part time for economic reasons, as a percent of the civilian labor force plus all marginally attached workers.” This U-6 measure measures the “unemployed, underemployed, and those who are not looking but who want a job.”

The U-6 unemployment rate for the second quarter 2020 through the first quarter 2021 for Washington state was 15.8 percent. This was higher compared to the 14.8 percent U-6 unemployment annual 2020 rate. The U.S. U-6 unemployment rate for the second quarter 2020 through the first quarter 2021 was 14.5 percent.
More jobs added to state payrolls in May
OLYMPIA – Washington’s economy added 8,300 jobs in May and the state’s preliminary seasonally adjusted monthly unemployment rate fell slightly to 5.3 percent from April to May, according to the Employment Security Department (ESD).

“The demand for labor is strong and more job seekers are coming back into the labor force” said Paul Turek, economist for the department. “The employment gain in May is another step towards recovering the jobs lost in 2020.”

ESD 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 5.5 percent was revised to 5.4 percent. April’s preliminary estimated gain of 11,200 jobs was revised upward to a gain of 13,200 jobs.

The national unemployment rate fell from 6.1 percent in April to 5.8 percent in May. In May 2020, the national unemployment rate (revised) was 13.3 percent.

ESD paid unemployment insurance benefits to 394,220 people in May, an increase of 18,156 over the previous month.

More workers are returning to the job market

The state’s labor force in May was 3,875,600 – an increase of 14,400 people from the previous month. In the Seattle/Bellevue/Everett region, the labor force decreased by 1,800 over the same period.

From May 2020 to May 2021, the state’s labor force decreased by 29,300 while the Seattle/Bellevue/Everett region increased by 36,100.

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

From April to May, the number of people who were unemployed statewide decreased from 209,400 to 205,200. In the Seattle/Bellevue/Everett region, the number of people who were unemployed decreased from 93,500 to 90,000 over the same period.

Seven industry sectors expanded, five industry sectors contracted and one industry sector remained constant in May

Private sector employment increased by 7,000 jobs while government employment increased by 1,300 jobs.

Employment is growing annually

Washington gained an estimated 248,900 jobs from May 2020 – May 2021, not seasonally adjusted. Private sector employment rose by 9.0 percent, up an estimated 229,500 jobs, while public sector employment rose by 3.5 percent with a net loss of 19,400 jobs.

From May 2020 – May 2021, twelve major industry sectors expanded while one industry sector contracted.

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

Leisure and hospitality up 69,900 jobs
Retail trade up 49,100 jobs
Education and health services up 48,300 jobs

The one industry sector which contracted year-over-year, not seasonally adjusted, was manufacturing, which was down 9,900 jobs.
State unemployment rate falls; payrolls inch forward
OLYMPIA – Washington’s economy added 1,000 jobs in October and the state’s preliminary seasonally adjusted monthly unemployment rate for October decreased from 8.3 percent (adjusted) to 6.0 percent according to the Employment Security Department (ESD).

“The preliminary read on October payroll employment shows a very small increase once more,” said Paul Turek, economist for the department. “Upward revisions to the data in recent months show a stronger recovery, but renewed restrictions on business operations in response to mounting virus risk put the recovery in jeopardy.”

ESD 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 8.4 percent was revised slightly downward to 8.3 percent. September’s preliminary estimated gain of 2,400 jobs was revised to a gain of 23,800 jobs.

The national unemployment rate decreased from 7.9 percent in September to 6.9 percent in October 2020. In October 2019, the national unemployment rate (revised) was 3.6 percent.

ESD paid unemployment insurance benefits to 453,798 people in October, a decrease of 99,489 over the previous month.

State labor force participation increases

The state’s labor force in October was 3,989,000– an increase of 60,700 people from the previous month. In the Seattle/Bellevue/Everett region, the labor force decreased by 12,900 over the same period.

From October 2019 through October 2020, the state’s labor force increased by 42,600 and the Seattle/Bellevue/Everett region decreased by 40,700.

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

From September 2020 to October 2020, the number of people who were unemployed statewide decreased from 326,000 to 238,600. In the Seattle/Bellevue/Everett region, the number of people who were unemployed decreased from 117,900 to 82,000 over the same period.

Seven industry sectors expanded, five sectors contracted and one was unchanged in October

Private sector employment increased by 14,100 jobs while government employment decreased by 13,100 jobs. Provided below is a summary of the job gains and losses in all thirteen industry sectors.
State pays out $12 billion in unemployment benefits during Covid-19 crisis to da
OLYMPIA – During the week of October 25 - 31, there were 14,681 initial regular unemployment claims (up 3.4 percent from the prior week) and 465,563 total claims for all unemployment benefit categories (down 2.1 percent from the prior week) filed by Washingtonians, according to the Employment Security Department (ESD). Since the crisis began in March, ESD has paid more than $12.1 billion in benefits to over a million Washingtonians.

Initial regular claims applications remain at elevated levels and are at 113 percent above last year’s weekly new claims applications.

Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) initial claims, Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) initial claims and continued claims for regular benefits all decreased over the week.
Slight increases in initial claims were primarily in industries where seasonal layoffs are expected this time of year, including agriculture and construction.

In the week ending October 31, ESD paid out over $143 million for 307,351 individual claims.
Unemployment claims down October 18 - 24
OLYMPIA – During the week of October 18 - 24, there were 14,198 initial regular unemployment claims (down 15.9 percent from the prior week) and 475,441 total claims for all unemployment benefit categories (down 3.2 percent from the prior week) filed by Washingtonians, according to the Employment Security Department (ESD).

Initial regular claims applications remain at elevated levels and are at 128 percent above last year’s weekly new claims applications.

Initial regular initial claims, regular continued claims, Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) initial claims and Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) initial claims all decreased over the week.

In the week ending October 24, ESD paid out over $145 million for 307,548 individual claims. Since the crisis began in March, ESD has paid more than $11.9 billion in benefits to over a million Washingtonians.
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.