For the Reporter
Washington’s economy added 8,700 jobs in February and the state’s seasonally adjusted monthly unemployment rate came in at 4.7 percent, according to the Employment Security Department.
“Job growth remains strong,” said Paul Turek for the department. “A growing labor force is supplying workers to meet labor demand while unemployment remains low.”
The Employment Security Department released the preliminary job estimates from the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics as part of its February Monthly Employment Report. The department also announced that January’s previously announced unemployment rate of 4.7 percent was confirmed. However, January job gains were revised upward from 6,800 to 10,500 jobs.
The national unemployment rate remained at 4.1 percent in February. In February last year, the national unemployment rate was 4.7 percent.
Employment Security paid unemployment insurance benefits to 64,907 people in February.
Labor force grew slightly in Washington
The state’s labor force was 3,759,900 — an increase of 2,800 people from the previous month. In the Seattle/Bellevue/Everett region, the labor force increased by 8,000 over the same period.
From February 2017 through February 2018, the state’s labor force grew by 76,700 and the Seattle/Bellevue/Everett region increased by 47,200.
The labor force is the total number of people, both employed and unemployed, over the age of 16.
Seven sectors expand, two contract and four remained constant
Private sector employment increased by 8,200 while the public sector gained 500 jobs in February.
This month’s report shows the greatest private job growth occurred in retail trade up 3,500, education and health services up 2,600, financial activities up 1,300 professional and business services up 1,100 and other services also up 1,100. Other sectors adding jobs were government up 500 and information up 400.
Construction faced the biggest reduction in February losing 1,500 jobs while manufacturing lost 300 jobs.
Transportation, warehousing and utilities, wholesale trade, mining and logging as well as leisure and hospitality all remained unchanged.
Year-over-year growth remains strong
Washington added an estimated 99,100 new jobs from February 2017 through February 2018, not seasonally adjusted. The private sector grew by 3.4 percent or 89,500 jobs, and the public sector increased by 1.6 percent, adding 9,600 jobs.
From February 2017 through February 2018, eleven industry sectors added jobs. The two industry sectors that did not add jobs were manufacturing which lost 1,000 jobs and mining and logging which lost 100 jobs.
The three industry sectors with the largest employment gains year-over-year, not seasonally adjusted, were:
• Education and health services with 17,300 new jobs;
• Retail trade with 16,700 new jobs; and
• Professional and business services with 16,500 new jobs.
Employment Security is a partner in the statewide WorkSource system, which offers a variety of employment and training services for job seekers, including free help with resumes, interviewing and skills training. WorkSource also helps employers advertise jobs, convene hiring events and connect with subsidized employee training.
Find WorkSource locations and more than 140,000 job openings on WorkSourceWA.com.