Payroll employment growth surges in February

Washington state’s economy added 31,700 jobs in February. In February, the preliminary seasonally adjusted monthly unemployment rate fell slightly to 4.3 percent.

“The February increase in state employment was the largest monthly increase since last July,” said the Employment Security Department’s (ESD) Economist Paul Turek.

“The gains were broad-based with just about every major industrial sector having increased its payrolls over the month.”

ESD paid unemployment insurance benefits to 55,819 people in February, a decrease of 10,976 over the previous month. Decreases in the claims from the construction, agriculture, and accommodation and food services sectors contributed to the overall decrease in paid claims over the month.

The national unemployment rate dropped from 4 percent in January to the preliminary rate of 3.8 percent in February. For comparison, the national unemployment rate (revised) for February 2021 was 6.2 percent.

The state’s labor force in February was 3,982,400 — an increase of 22,000 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 January to February, the number of people who were unemployed statewide decreased from 173,900 to 170,800.

In February, 12 industry sectors expanded and one was unchanged.

Private sector employment increased by 24,400 jobs while government employment increased by 7,300 jobs.

Washington state gained an estimated 191,900 jobs from February 2021 to February 2022, not seasonally adjusted. Private sector employment rose by 6.4 percent, up an estimated 172,700 jobs, while public sector employment rose by 3.5percent, up an estimated 19,200 jobs.