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Despite steady job growth, Washington’s unemployment rate remains at 5.8 percent U.S. unemployment increases slightly to 5 percent


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Despite steady job growth, Washington’s unemployment rate remains at 5.8 percent

U.S. unemployment increases slightly to 5 percent

OLYMPIA – While Washington added 9,000 new jobs from February 2016 to March 2016, the state’s unemployment rate held steady at 5.8 percent, according to the state’s Employment Security Department (ESD).  The state released the seasonally adjusted, preliminary jobs estimates from the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics as part of its March Monthly Employment Report.

“Washington continues to enjoy steady job growth but surges in the labor market are impacting the state’s unemployment rate,” said Paul Turek, Washington’s state labor economist. “The state added nearly 100,000 new jobs since last year, but at the same time, 92,500 more people entered the labor market to compete for those jobs—and that’s been keeping the unemployment rate from declining ”

The U.S. unemployment rate increased slightly from 4.9 percent in February to 5 percent in March.

Unemployment in the Seattle/Bellevue/Everett area dropped from 5 percent in February 2016 to a preliminary 4.9 percent in March 2016.

ESD paid unemployment insurance benefits to 69,916 people statewide in March. 

Labor force continues to grow in Puget Sound and across Washington
The state’s labor force increased by more than 13,000 to nearly 3.62 million from February to March. The labor force is the total number of people, both employed and unemployed, over age 16. In the Seattle/Bellevue/Everett region, the labor force grew by 7,300 to nearly 1.61 million over the same period.

Washington enjoys job growth in all but two sectors in March
This month’s report shows the greatest job growth in professional & business services with 2,200 new jobs from February to March.

Financial activities saw no growth, and education & health services lost 1,600 jobs.

Year-over-year growth remains strong with continued gains in public and private sectors
Washington added 98,200 new jobs from March 2015 to March 2016, not seasonally adjusted. The private sector grew by 87,600 jobs and the public sector added 10,600, according to ESD’s Monthly Employment Report.

From March 2015 to March 2016, 11 of 13 major industries saw growth while the number of jobs in the mining and logging industries dropped by 600 and manufacturing lost 2,300 jobs.

The top four industry sectors with the largest employment gains from March 2015 to March 2016, not seasonally adjusted, were:

·         Professional & business services with 17,100 new jobs;

·         Retail trade with 14,900 new jobs;

·         Leisure & hospitality with 14,300 new jobs; and

·         Construction with 10,900 new jobs.


Web links

·         Monthly employment report

·         Labor market information website

·         State and local trends and projections

·         Three-month comparisons, county-to-county (Excel spreadsheet) ~ click “Current estimates” under “Not seasonally adjusted” on the right

·         Historical data (Excel spreadsheet) ~ click “Historical estimates” under “Seasonally adjusted” on the right

·         Employment Security website



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