Modest gains in state job growth in September

Washington state’s economy gained an estimated 1,500 jobs (seasonally adjusted) in September, according to the Employment Security Department.

Job growth was highest in the following industries: transportation; warehousing and utilities; information; professional and business services; financial activities, and wholesale trade.

“September’s payroll employment numbers came in much lighter overall compared to August,” state economist Paul Turek said.

“Together with the state’s historically low unemployment rate, the demand for workers is still very strong. The weaker employment numbers were concentrated in the public sector while private sector hiring remained strong.”

Clallam County’s unemployment rate for September was 4.7 percent — tied for eighth-highest among the state’s 39 counties.

ESD paid unemployment insurance benefits to 35,852 people in September, a decrease of 77 paid claims over the previous month. Decreases in paid claims within educational services, administrative and support services, waste management and remediation services contributed to the overall decrease in paid claims over the month.

The national unemployment rate decreased in September from 3.7 percent to a preliminary rate of 3.5 percent. For comparison, the national unemployment rate (revised) for September 2021 was 4.7 percent.

Labor force participation declines

The state’s labor force in September numbered 4,012,300 – a decrease of 8,100 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 September 2021 to September 2022, the state’s labor force increased by 73,300.

From August to September, the number of people who were unemployed statewide increased from 149,200 to 150,200.

Of the industry sectors in September, nine expanded and four contracted

Private sector employment increased by 9,200 jobs while government employment decreased by 7,700 jobs. The private sector and public schools are now regaining positions lost during the pandemic. However, state and local government jobs have been slower to rebound, mainly because workers, who were furloughed or laid off temporarily, haven’t returned to work.

This is likely attributable to pandemic-related service reductions or recruiting challenges, state officials said.