Washington jobs report delivers promising start to new year

Local economy still strong

  • Wednesday, March 7, 2018 10:35am
  • Business

For the Reporter

Washington’s economy added 6,800 jobs in January and the state’s seasonally adjusted monthly unemployment rate came in at 4.7 percent, according to the Employment Security Department.

“Signs point to a strong labor market even as annual data revisions provided a dose of restraint,” said Paul Turek for the department. “Unemployment remains extremely low and wage growth looks to be accelerating.”

The Employment Security Department released the preliminary job estimates from the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics as part of its January Monthly Employment Report. The department also announced that December’s previously announced unemployment rate of 4.5 percent was revised upward to 4.7 percent. Similarly, December job gains were revised upward from 6,100 to 8,500 jobs.

The national unemployment rate was 4.1 percent in January. In January last year, the national unemployment rate was 4.8 percent.

Employment Security paid unemployment insurance benefits to 70,908 people in January.

Labor force grew slightly in Washington

The state’s labor force was 3,757,900 – an increase of 3,000 people from the previous month. In the Seattle/Bellevue/Everett region, the labor force increased by 8,500 over the same period.

From January 2017 through January 2018, the state’s labor force grew by 82,400 and the Seattle/Bellevue/Everett region increased by 42,700.

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

Seven sectors expand, six contract

Private sector employment increased by 7,100 and the public sector lost 300 jobs in January.

This month’s report shows the greatest private job growth occurred in construction up 3,100, professional and business services up 2,000, and retail trade up 1,800. Other sectors adding jobs were transportation, warehousing and utilities up 1,100, manufacturing up 700 and wholesale trade up 600.

Education and health services faced the biggest reduction in January, losing 1,100 jobs. Additionally, financial activities cut 700, leisure and hospitality as well as government both trimmed 300 jobs, information eliminated 200 jobs and mining and logging lost 100 jobs.

Year-over-year growth remains strong

Washington added an estimated 91,900 new jobs from January 2017 through January 2018, not seasonally adjusted. The private sector grew by 3.1 percent or 82,600 jobs, and the public sector increased by 1.6 percent, adding 9,300 jobs.

From January 2017 through January 2018, eleven industry sectors added jobs. The two industry sectors that did not add jobs were manufacturing which lost 800 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:

• Professional and business services with 15,700 new jobs;

• Construction with 14,100 new jobs; and

• Education and health services with 14,100 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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