For the Reporter
Washington’s economy added 8,500 jobs in May and the state’s seasonally adjusted monthly unemployment rate for May was 4.7 percent, according to the Employment Security Department.
The May unemployment rate was slightly lower than the April 2018 unemployment rate of 4.8 percent.
“Payroll growth stepped up in May,” said Paul Turek, economist for the department. “Gains were widespread across industries with most adding jobs.”
The Employment Security Department released the preliminary job estimates from the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics as part of its Monthly Employment Report. The department also announced that April’s previously reported unemployment rate of 4.8 percent was confirmed. Job gains in April were revised upward from 7,100 to 8,200 jobs.
The national unemployment rate was at 3.8 percent in May. In May 2017 last year, the national unemployment rate was 4.3 percent.
Employment Security paid unemployment insurance benefits to 48,037 people in May.
Labor force in Washington is little changed from last month
The state’s labor force in May was 3,760,700 – an increase of 100 people from the previous month. However, in the Seattle/Bellevue/Everett region, the labor force decreased by 1,700 over the same period.
From May 2017 through May 2018, the state’s labor force grew by 49,400 and the Seattle/Bellevue/Everett region increased by 42,600.
The labor force is the total number of people, both employed and unemployed, over the age of 16.
Ten sectors expand, two contract and one remained constant
Private sector employment increased by 7,800 while the public sector gained 700 jobs in May.
This month’s report shows the greatest private job growth occurred in retail trade up 3,000, construction up 1,400, and education & health services and professional & business services both up 1,100. Other sectors adding jobs were information up 800, government up 700, wholesale trade and financial activities both up 500, leisure & hospitality up 400 and manufacturing up 200.
Transportation, warehousing & utilities experienced the biggest reduction in May losing 700 jobs while other services lost 400 jobs.
Mining and logging was the only sector that remained unchanged.
Year-over-year growth is strong
Washington added an estimated 90,100 new jobs from May 2017 through May 2018, not seasonally adjusted. The private sector grew by 3.1 percent, up an estimated 85,100 jobs, and the public sector increased by 0.8 percent, adding 5,000 jobs.
From May 2017 through May 2018, all thirteen industry sectors added jobs.
The three industry sectors with the largest employment gains year-over-year, not seasonally adjusted, were:
• Retail trade with 19,200 new jobs; and
• Education and health services with 17,100 new jobs;
• Professional and business services with 12,600 new jobs.