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Seattle Press
Community Log & News Digest
Unemployment rate drops again in September
- Civic Affairs
OLYMPIA –The WA Dept. of Employment Secirity reports that preliminary estimates from the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) show Washington’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate fell again to 5.6 percent in September with the state adding 20,000 jobs. Washington’s revised unemployment rate was 5.7 percent in August—after lingering for eight months at 5.8 percent.

According to the Monthly Employment Report from Washington’s Employment Security Department (ESD), the private sector added 14,300 jobs and the public sector gained 5,700 jobs.

“Bigger picture, Washington is continuing to add jobs,” said Paul Turek, the state’s labor market economist. “We’re seeing growth in the labor force while trimming unemployment as employers continue to pull people back off the sidelines and into the job market.”

The national unemployment rate increased to 5 percent in September. The unemployment rate in the Seattle/Bellevue/Everett area dropped from 4.1 percent in August to 3.9 percent in September.

ESD paid unemployment insurance benefits to 49,342 people in September.

The state’s labor force grew to 3.65 million in September, an increase of 21,400 people from the previous month. In the Seattle/Bellevue/Everett region, the labor force increased by nearly 15,000 during the same period.

From September 2015 to September 2016, the state’s labor force grew by 103,700 and the Seattle/Bellevue/Everett region increased by 41,600.

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

This month’s report shows the greatest job growth occurred in government with 5,700 new jobs followed by education and health services with 5,000 new jobs created and professional and business services with 4,400.

Financial services lost 400 jobs and wholesale trade shed 600.

Year-over-year, the private sector grew by 3.1 percent or 81,800 jobs, and the public sector increased by 2 percent, adding 10,800 jobs.

From September 2015 to September 2016, 12 of 13 the state’s major industry sectors added jobs. Manufacturing was the only sector to report job losses (-4,000).

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

Education and health services with 21,100 new jobs;
Construction with 16,000 new jobs; and
Professional & business services with 13,400 new jobs.
Check it out! ESD has new labor market web information and tools, including a video tutorial to highlight popular information and data.


Note: The BLS recently updated its “alternative measures of labor underutilization” for states to include the second quarter of 2016. 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 annual U-6 rate for Washington through second quarter 2016 was 10.7 percent compared to the national rate of 9.9 percent. Washington’s U-6 rate is the lowest it has been since 2009.

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