Washington unemployment rate hits lowest point in six years

WASHINGTON EMPLOYMENT SECURITY DEPARTMENT NEWS RELEASE -- Washington’s job growth accelerated in June and the unemployment rate fell to its lowest level in six years, according to preliminary, seasonally adjusted estimates by economists with the state’s Employment Security Department.

On a seasonally adjusted basis, nonfarm employment jumped 9,100, following a small gain of 1,000 new jobs (downwardly revised from 4,000) in May. At the same time, the state’s unemployment rate dropped from 6.1 percent in May to 5.8 percent. The nation’s unemployment rate was 6.1 percent.

“After a hiring lull in May, Washington employers really picked up the pace in June,” said Paul Turek, an economist with the department. “The state’s economy is picking up momentum and the near term job outlook is good.”

Industry sectors with the largest employment gains in June were education and health services, up 2,600; retail trade, up 2,200; leisure and hospitality, up 1,900; and wholesale trade, up 1,400. Other sectors reporting increases were professional and business services, up 900; information, up 700; manufacturing, financial services and other services, each up 500; and mining, up 100.

The primary job loss was in government, down 1,400 positions. Construction and manufacturing also lost 400 jobs each.

“Employment gains were broad and spread through all major industry sectors,” said Turek.

During the one-year period ending in June, Employment Security estimates that employers created 84,700 jobs (not seasonally adjusted).

Meanwhile, the number of unemployed job seekers looking for work in Washington dropped 10,800 to an estimated 201,000. That includes 70,059 who claimed unemployment benefits in June. At the same time, the state labor force of nearly 3.5 million decreased by 6,400.