Seattle Press
Community Log & News Digest
State labor market grows; unemployment holds at 5.8 percent
OLYMPIA – Despite adding 8,700 jobs from April to May 2016, Washington’s unemployment rate remains at 5.8 percent for the fifth month in a row, according to the state’s Employment Security Department (ESD). The state released the seasonally adjusted, preliminary jobs estimates from the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics as part of its May Monthly Employment Report.

“Even though we added more than 101,000 jobs over the last year, Washington’s unemployment rate is holding steady,” said ESD’s state economist, Paul Turek. “As I’ve been saying for the last several months, that’s not necessarily bad for our economy as we have been seeing more and more people enter the labor market.”

The U.S. unemployment rate dipped to 4.7 percent in May. Unemployment in the Seattle/Bellevue/Everett area remained steady at 4.9 percent after the April unemployment rate was revised upward slightly from 4.8 percent to 4.9 percent in April 2016.

In Washington, ESD paid unemployment insurance benefits to 60,742 people in May.

Labor force continues to grow in Puget Sound and across Washington
The state’s labor force increased by 97,100 people to nearly 3.63 million from May 2015 to May 2016. The labor force is the total number of people, both employed and unemployed, over age 16. In the Seattle/Bellevue/Everett region, the labor force grew by 33,100 people over the same period.

Nine sectors see job growth, four sectors face losses
This month’s report shows the greatest job growth in professional & business services with 2,300 new jobs from April to May 2016.

Education and health services added 2,000 jobs. Government and construction both added 1,600 jobs.

The number of jobs in leisure and hospitality decreased by 1,400, with 900 of the loss occurring in arts, entertainment and recreation.

Year-over-year growth remains strong with continued gains in public and private sectors
The state added 101,700 new jobs from May 2015 to May 2016, not seasonally adjusted. The private sector grew by 3.5 percent or 89,700 jobs, and the public sector increased by 2.1 percent, adding 12,000 jobs.

From May 2015 to May 2016, 11 of 13 major industries saw growth while the number of jobs in the mining and logging industries dropped by 200 and manufacturing lost 2,800 jobs.

The top five industry sectors with the largest employment gains year-over-year, not seasonally adjusted, were:
  • Professional & business services with 18,8 000 new jobs;
  • Construction with 14,000 new jobs;
  • Education and health services with 13,700 new jobs;
  • Government with 12,000 new jobs; and
  • Retail trade with 11,700 new jobs.

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