Payroll employment growth slows slightly in August but remains strong

Washington state’s economy added 16,800 jobs in August and the state’s preliminary seasonally adjusted monthly unemployment rate remained constant at 5.1 percent from July to August, according to the Employment Security Department (ESD).

“August’s job gain numbers were reasonably solid in the face of renewed health concerns,” said Paul Turek, economist for the department. “But the uncertainty around the Delta variant is likely to result in an uneven labor market recovery.”

ESD released the preliminary job estimates from the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics as part of its Monthly Employment Report.

Clallam County’s unemployment rate for August was 5.8 percent — seventh-highest among Washington state’s 39 counties.

The department also announced that July’s previously reported unemployment rate of 5.1 percent was confirmed. July’s preliminary estimated gain of 22,700 jobs was revised upward to a gain of 24,300 jobs.

The national unemployment rate dropped from 5.4 percent in July to 5.2 percent in August. In August 2020, the national unemployment rate (revised) was 8.4 percent.

ESD paid unemployment insurance benefits to 274,036 people in August, a decrease of 42,307 over the previous month.

Workers continue to trickle back to the labor force

The state’s labor force in August was 3,923,000 – an increase of 16,700 people from the previous month. In the Seattle/Bellevue/Everett region, the labor force increased by 3,800 over the same period.

From August 2020 to August 2021, the state’s labor force increased by 36,900 while the Seattle/Bellevue/Everett region increased by 25,900.

The labor force is the total number of people, both employed and unemployed, over the age of 16.

From July to August, the number of people who were unemployed statewide decreased from 199,200 to 198,800. In the Seattle/Bellevue/Everett region, the number of people who were unemployed decreased from 89,200 to 88,700 over the same period.

Nine industry sectors expanded, three industry sectors contracted, and one industry sector remained constant in August

Private sector employment increased by 13,000 jobs while government employment increased by 3,800 jobs. Provided below is a summary of the job gains and losses in all 13 industry sectors:

• Leisure and hospitality, +8,500

• Government, +3,800

• Professional and business services, +3,400

• Manufacturing, +2,000

• Transportation, warehousing and utilities, +1,500

• Other services, +700

• Education and health services, +200

• Financial activities, +100

• Information, +100

• Mining and logging, no change

• Wholesale trade, -200

• Construction, -1,600

• Retail trade, -1,700

Washington state gained an estimated 174,600 jobs from August 2020- August 2021, not seasonally adjusted. Private sector employment rose by 6.5 percent, up an estimated 175,100 jobs, while public sector employment fell by 0.1 percent, down an estimated 500 jobs.

From August 2020-August 2021, ten major industry sectors expanded, two industry sectors contracted, and one remained constant.

The three industry sectors with the largest employment gains year-over-year, not seasonally adjusted, were:

• Leisure and hospitality, up 63,400 jobs

• Professional and business services, up 34,800 jobs

• Education and health services, up 25,700 jobs

The two industry sectors which contracted year-over-year, not seasonally adjusted, were:

• Manufacturing, down 5,100 jobs

• Government, down 500 jobs