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Seattle Press
Community Log & News Digest
Unemployment Rate Holds at 5.8 Percent
- Civic Affairs
OLYMPIA – Washington added 12,800 new nonfarm jobs, on a preliminary, seasonally adjusted basis, from December 2015 to January 2016, according to the state’s Employment Security Department (ESD).

“Washington continues to enjoy solid job growth,” said Paul Turek, Washington’s state labor economist. “The state has continued to add new jobs each month since October 2014 — and we are continuing to see growth in the labor market.”

The state’s unemployment rate remained at 5.8 percent, the same as revised employment rate for December 2015 and the same as one year ago in January 2015, according to estimates by the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The U.S. unemployment rate dropped slightly to 4.9 percent for January 2016.

Unemployment in the Seattle/Bellevue/Everett area rose from 5 percent in December 2015 to a preliminary 5.1 percent in January 2016.

Labor force continues to grow in Puget Sound and across Washington

The resident labor force statewide rose slightly from nearly 3.57 million people in December 2015 to nearly 3.59 million in January. The resident labor force in the Seattle/Bellevue/Everett region rose from nearly 1.59 million to nearly 1.595 million over the same period. The labor force is the total number of people, both employed and unemployed, over the age of 16.

The number of unemployed rose to 209,900 statewide. The number of unemployed in the Seattle/Bellevue/Everett area grew from 78,700 in December to 81,400 in January. In January 2016, ESD paid unemployment insurance benefits to 86,598 statewide.

New jobs in retail, education & health and leisure & hospitality drive growth this month

This month’s report shows the greatest job growth in retail with 3,500 new jobs last month.

Eight more industries experienced job gains in the month of January including:

  • Education and health services (3,300)

  • Leisure and hospitality (2,800)

  • Other services (2,800)

  • Government (1,600)

  • Financial activities (1,300)

  • Manufacturing (800)

  • Information (600)

  • Construction (400)


Wholesale trade and mining and logging were unchanged. Professional and business services lost 2,900 jobs and transportation, warehousing and utilities lost 1,400 jobs.

Year-over-year growth remains strong with gains in both public and private sectors

Washington added 93,700 new jobs from January 2015 to January 2016 on a not seasonally adjusted basis. The private sector grew by 82,000 jobs and the public sector added 11,700, according to ESD’s Monthly Employment Report.

From January 2015 to January 2016, 11 of 13 major industries saw growth while the number of jobs in the mining and logging industries dropped by 700 and manufacturing lost 800 jobs.

The top four industry sectors with the largest employment gains from January 2015 to January 2016, not seasonally adjusted, were:

  • Retail trade with 15,700 new jobs

  • Professional and business services with 14,900 new jobs

  • Leisure and hospitality with 14,400 new jobs

  • Government with 11,700 new jobs.

Employment Security website


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