Payroll employment declines in July

Washington state’s economy lost an estimated 6,400 jobs (seasonally adjusted) and the monthly unemployment rate decreased to 3.6 percent in July.

“July’s weak payroll number offsets the strong gains seen in June; together with the downward revisions to first-quarter job totals, July’s numbers indicate the state’s labor market is gradually cooling off,” said Paul Turek, state economist Employment Security Department (ESD).

“Even so, the unemployment rate continued to fall, showing that the labor market remains historically tight.”

ESD paid unemployment benefits to 55,172 people in July, a decrease of 895 paid claims over the previous month. Decreases in paid claims in the construction and manufacturing sectors contributed to the overall decrease in claims over the month.

Clallam County’s unemployment rate for July 2023 was 4.1 percent — tied for eighth-highest among the state’s 39 counties.

The national unemployment rate decreased in July from 3.6 percent to 3.5 percent. For comparison, the national unemployment rate (revised) for June 2022 was 3.6 percent.

The preliminary estimated gain of 11,900 jobs for June 2023 was revised to a gain of 13,100 jobs.

The seasonally adjusted monthly unemployment rate was revised from 3.7 to 3.6 percent.

The state’s labor force in July numbered 4,069,400 – an increase of 1,500 people from the previous month.

Labor force is defined as the total number of people, both employed and unemployed, over the age of 16. Layoffs and labor force participation are not necessarily connected. When people are laid off but still seeking work, they remain a part of the labor force. A drop in the labor force means people have left work and haven’t been actively seeking employment for more than four weeks.

From July 2022 to July 2023, the state’s labor force increased by 74,600. From June to July 2023, the number of people who were unemployed statewide decreased from 154,400 to 147,600.

Private sector employment decreased by 1,400 jobs from June to July while government employment decreased by 5,000 jobs.

Jobs in education and health services increased by 2,900 overall, with 3,200 jobs gained in ambulatory health care services.

Government employment decreased by 5,000 overall, with 2,700 jobs lost in the state government educational services sector. Seasonal decreases in state government educational services typically push down government employment during the month of July.