Employment growth pushes unemployment rate to pre-pandemic low

Washington state’s economy gained an estimated 11,900 jobs (seasonally adjusted) and the monthly unemployment rate decreased to 3.8 percent in June.

The last time the unemployment rate was this low was in February 2020, according to Employment Security Department (ESD) state economist Paul Turek.

The national unemployment rate decreased in June from 3.7 percent to 3.6 percent; for comparison, the national unemployment rate (revised) for June 2022 was 3.6 percent.

Clallam County’s unemployment rate for June 2023 was 3.8 percent — tied for eighth-highest among the state’s 39 counties.

The state’s labor force in June numbered 4,068,100 – an increase of 2,900 people from the previous month. (Labor force is defined as the total number of people, both employed and unemployed, over the age of 16.)

From June 2022 to June 2023, the state’s labor force increased by 85,177. From May to June 2023, the number of people who were unemployed statewide decreased from 165,000 to 154,500.

Private sector employment increased by 8,800 jobs from May to June while government employment increased by 3,100 jobs.

Of the industry sectors, in June, seven expanded and six contracted. Leisure and hospitality employment increased by 8,900 overall, with 5,200 jobs added in food services and drinking places. The number of jobs in education and health services increased by 4,600 overall, with 3,100 jobs gained in social assistance. Professional and business services employment increased by 500 overall, with 800 jobs gained in professional, scientific and technical services.

Manufacturing employment fell by 2,500, led by 1,700 jobs lost in food manufacturing. Retail trade employment decreased by 2,800 overall, with 900 jobs lost by food and beverage stores.