State unemployment rate nudges upward, job growth continues

Slight increase to 4.8 percent in March

  • Thursday, April 19, 2018 11:45am
  • Business

For the Reporter

Washington’s economy added 3,900 jobs in March and the state’s seasonally adjusted monthly unemployment rate increased slightly from 4.7 to 4.8 percent in March, according to the Employment Security Department.

“An expanding economy continues to generate jobs and employment opportunities for state residents,” said Paul Turek, economist for the department. “The unemployment rate is hovering near historical lows.”

The Employment Security Department released the preliminary job estimates from the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics as part of its March Monthly Employment Report. The department also announced that the unemployment rate for March rose slightly higher to 4.8 percent from the adjusted February rate of 4.7 percent. Job gains in February were revised downward from 8,700 to 8,500 jobs.

The national unemployment rate remained at 4.1 percent in March. In March last year, the national unemployment rate was 4.5 percent.

Employment Security paid unemployment insurance benefits to 60,694 people in March.

Labor force grew slightly in Washington

The state’s labor force was 3,761,800 — an increase of 1,800 people from the previous month. In the Seattle/Bellevue/Everett region, the labor force increased by 4,900 over the same period.

From March 2017 through March 2018, the state’s labor force grew by 70,000 and the Seattle/Bellevue/Everett region increased by 49,300.

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

Eight sectors expand, four contract and one remained constant

Private sector employment increased by 3,400 while the public sector gained 500 jobs in March.

This month’s report shows the greatest private job growth occurred in manufacturing up 1,600, retail trade up 1,300 and leisure & hospitality up 1,100. Other sectors adding jobs were information up 700, wholesale trade up 600, government up 500, with education & health services and professional & business services both up 200.

Financial activities faced the biggest reduction in March losing 1,200 jobs while construction lost 500 jobs, other services lost 400 jobs and transportation, warehousing & utilities lost 200 jobs.

Mining and logging was the only sector that remained unchanged.

Year-over-year growth remains strong

Washington added an estimated 93,500 new jobs from March 2017 through March 2018, not seasonally adjusted. The private sector grew by 3.1 percent or 83,700 jobs, and the public sector increased by 1.7 percent, adding 9,800 jobs.

From March 2017 through March 2018, twelve industry sectors added jobs. The only industry sector that did not add jobs was mining and logging which added zero jobs.

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

• Retail trade with 17,000 new jobs;

• Professional and business services with 14,800 new jobs; and

• Education and health services with 14,500 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.

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