Payroll employment grows in October; unemployment climbs to 3.8%

Washington state’s economy gained an estimated 7,900 jobs (seasonally adjusted) and the monthly unemployment rate rose from 3.6% to 3.8% in October.

“Jobs grew at a faster pace than what was observed over the previous three months,” said Anneliese Vance-Sherman, Employment Security Department’s chief labor economist.

“The demand for workers remains elevated, and the trend toward more modest job growth continued.”

Clallam County’s unemployment rate for October 2023 was 5.0% — tied for sixth-highest among the state’s 39 counties.

The national unemployment rate rose slightly to 3.9% in October. For comparison, the national unemployment rate (revised) for October 2022 was 3.7%.

The state’s labor force in October numbered 4,056,188 – a decrease of 4,950 people from the previous month.

From October 2022 to October 2023, the state’s labor force increased by 41,564.

From September to October 2023, the number of people who were unemployed statewide increased from 146,934 to 153,526.

Private sector employment increased by 4,800 jobs from September to October while government employment increased by 3,100 jobs.

Of the industry sectors in October, seven expanded, four contracted and two were unchanged.

Private education and health services employment increased by 3,700, with 2,000 jobs added in health services and social assistance.

Retail trade employment increased by 2,500, with the largest observed gains attributable to other retail trade (1,000) and food and beverage stores (800). Employment in the information sector fell by 1,600, with losses observed in publishing industries except internet (-2,400) and software publishers (-1,800).