Payroll employment grows in September; unemployment rate holds steady

Washington state’s economy gained an estimated 7,900 jobs (seasonally adjusted) and the monthly unemployment rate remained constant at 3.6% in September.

“Jobs grew at a faster pace than the prior month,” said Paul Turek, Employment Security Department (ESD) state economist.

“The demand for workers has been resilient, although the trend toward more modest job growth remains intact.”

Visit ESD’s website to view the entire Monthly Employment Report for September here.

ESD paid unemployment insurance benefits to 54,073 people in September, a decrease of 2,862 paid claims over the previous month. Decreases in paid claims within transportation and warehousing, and the health care and social assistance sectors contributed to the overall decrease in claims over the month.

The preliminary estimated gain of 2,900 jobs in August was revised to a gain of 2,500 jobs. The seasonally adjusted monthly unemployment rate in August was confirmed at 3.6%.

The national unemployment rate remained constant at 3.8% in September. For comparison, the national unemployment rate (revised) for September 2022 was 3.5%.

Clallam County’s unemployment rate for September 2023 was 4.3% — tied for sixth-highest among the state’s 39 counties.

The state’s labor force in September numbered 4,061,200 — a decrease of 6,000 people from the previous month. From September 2022 to September 2023, the state’s labor force increased by 53,700.

From August to September 2023, the number of people who were unemployed statewide increased from 145,900 to 146,900.

A majority of major industries added jobs

Private sector employment increased by 6,900 jobs from August to September while government employment increased by 1,000 jobs.

Of the industry sectors, in September, eight expanded and five contracted. Professional and business services employment increased by 3,900, with 2,100 jobs added in administrative and support services. The number of jobs in education and health increased by 3,600, with 1,000 jobs gained in nursing and residential care facilities.

Retail trade employment decreased by 800 overall, with 1,000 jobs lost in food and beverage stores. Construction employment fell by 1,100, with 1,000 jobs lost by specialty trade contactors. Employment in other services decreased by 2,100 overall, with 2,300 jobs lost in personal and laundry services.

Washington gained an estimated 55,300 jobs from September 2022 to September 2023, not seasonally adjusted. Private sector employment rose by 1.5%, up an estimated 45,200 jobs, while public sector employment rose by 1.8% — up an estimated 10,100 jobs.