For the Reporter
Preliminary estimates from the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics show Washington’s economy continues to create jobs on a year-over-year basis, and the unemployment rate held firm at 5.8 percent in July.
According to the July Monthly Employment Report from Washington’s Employment Security Department (ESD), the state added 2,600 jobs over the month, adding up to a total 100,000 since July 2015.
“While job growth is slowing, Washington’s economy continues to expand and we are adding jobs,” said Paul Turek, the state’s labor market economist.
The national unemployment rate held firm at 4.9 percent in July. The unemployment rate in the Seattle/Bellevue/Everett area dropped from 4.6 to 4.4 percent.
ESD paid unemployment insurance benefits to 52,979 people in July.
Labor force falls across Washington
The state’s labor force remained virtually unchanged at 3.62 million (-200) people from June 2016 to July 2016. In the Seattle/Bellevue/Everett region, the labor force dropped by 1,300 over the same period.
From July 2015 to July 2016, however, the state’s labor force grew by 86,200 and the Seattle/Bellevue/Everett region increased by 23,100.
The labor force is the total number of people, both employed and unemployed, over age 16.
Seven sectors expand, while six sectors shed jobs
Private-sector employment decreased by 1,000 jobs, but government employment increased 3,600 for a net increase of 2,600 jobs in July.
This month’s report shows the greatest job growth occurred in government with 3,600 new jobs created. In addition, education and health services added 1,700 jobs, leisure and hospitality increased by 1,400 and wholesale trade added 900.
Manufacturing faced the biggest reduction, losing 2,100 jobs. Construction cut 1,700 jobs and professional and business services shed 1,300 positions.
Year-over-year growth remains strong
Washington has added an estimated 100,000 new jobs from July 2015 to July 2016, not seasonally adjusted. The private sector grew by 3.4 percent or 88,300 jobs, and the public sector increased by 2.1 percent, adding 11,700 jobs.
From July 2015 to July 2016, 12 of 13 the state’s industry sectors added jobs. Manufacturing was the only sector to report job losses (-3,000).
The three industry sectors with the largest employment gains year-over-year, not seasonally adjusted, were:
• Professional and business services with 15,800 new jobs;
• Education and health services with 15,100 new jobs; and
• Retail trade with 13,300 new jobs.