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Yawn: Unemployment Dips Further
- Business & Labor
Unemployment rate drops in November; Lowest rate since start of Great Recession

OLYMPIA – Washington added 3,600 new jobs in November, which helped lower the unemployment rate from 5.4 to 5.3 percent in November – the lowest rate since June 2008, according to state Employment Security Department.

“Washington’s economy is moving into the end of the year with good forward momentum,” according to Paul Turek, economist for the department. “Jobs are being created and we are seeing historically low numbers for unemployment.”

The department released the seasonally adjusted, preliminary job estimates from the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics as part of its November Monthly Employment Report.

The national unemployment rate was 4.6 percent in November. The unemployment rate in the Seattle/Bellevue/Everett area dropped from 3.8 percent in October to 3.7 percent in November.

Employment Security paid unemployment insurance benefits to 60,624 people in November.

Labor force increases in Washington

The state’s labor force grew to 3.69 million in November, an increase of 14,900 people from the previous month. In the Seattle/Bellevue/Everett region, the labor force increased by 10,400 during the same period.

From November 2015 to November 2016, the state’s labor force grew by 128,400 and the Seattle/Bellevue/Everett region increased by 62,500.

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

Seven sectors expand, five contract

Private-sector employment increased by 4,700 jobs and government employment decreased by 1,100 in November.

This month’s report shows the greatest job growth occurred in education and health services with 3,200 new jobs created. In addition, construction increased 2,400; professional and business services was up 1,200; transportation, warehousing and utilities, and manufacturing moved up 1,100; wholesale trade increased 800 and other services added 300.

Leisure and hospitality faced the biggest reduction in November, losing 3,100 jobs. Retail trade cut 1,200; government shed 1,100; financial activities eliminated 1,000 and information lost 100. Mining and logging employment was unchanged.

Year-over-year growth remains strong

Washington has added an estimated 95,100 new jobs from November 2015 to November 2016, not seasonally adjusted. The private sector grew by 3.1 percent or 81,500 jobs, and the public sector increased by 2.4 percent, adding 13,600 jobs.

From November 2015 to November 2016, 12 of the state’s 13 industry sectors added jobs. Manufacturing was the only sector to report job losses (-5,700).

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

Education and health services with 22,000 new jobs;
Government with 13,600 new jobs; and
Construction with 12,800 new jobs.

Check it out! ESD has new labor market information and tools, including a video tutorial to highlight popular information and data.

Note: The Bureau of Labor Statistics recently updated its “alternative measures of labor underutilization,” or U-6 rate, for states to include in the third 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 third quarter 2016 was 10.7 percent compared to the national rate of 9.8 percent. Washington’s U-6 rate is the lowest it has been since 2009.

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