State employment grows again in June as businesses gradually reopen

Washington state’s economy added 71,000 jobs in June and the state’s preliminary seasonally adjusted monthly unemployment rate for June decreased from 15.1 percent to 9.8 percent, according to the Employment Security Department (ESD).

This was the biggest month-to-month drop in the Washington unemployment rate (5.3 percent) in ESD records going back at least to 1990.

“The gain in non-farm payroll employment coupled with the revision to May’s job gains are a welcome surprise and another step in the right direction,” said Paul Turek, economist for the department.

“That said, the road ahead looks to be bumpy as the virus continues to spread, creating a less predictable situation for the economy reopening.”

Clallam County’s unemployment rate for June 2020 was 10.9 percent, tied for sixth-highest among Washington state’s 39 counties.

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

The department also announced that May’s previously reported unemployment rate of 15.1 percent was confirmed. May’s preliminary estimated gain of 52,500 jobs was revised to a gain of 146,400 jobs.

The national unemployment rate decreased from 13.3 percent in May 2020 to 11.1 percent in June 2020. This is the first time in 70 months (since September 2014) that the Washington state unemployment rate is lower than the national rate. In June 2019, the national unemployment rate (revised) was 3.7 percent.

ESD paid unemployment insurance benefits to 565,800 people in June, a decrease of 149,742 over the previous month.

The state’s labor force in June was 3,951,000 – an increase of 5,500 people from the previous month. In the Seattle/Bellevue/Everett region, the labor force increased by 75,200 over the same period.

From June 2019 through June 2020, the state’s labor force grew by 43,000 and the Seattle/Bellevue/Everett region grew by 52,800.

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

From May 2020 to June 2020, the number of people who were unemployed statewide decreased from 593,900 to 388,400. In the Seattle/Bellevue/Everett region, the number of people who were unemployed decreased from 246,600 to 165,400 over the same period.

Private sector employment increased by 71,700 jobs while government employment decreased by 700 jobs.

The largest gains in employment (by group) included: retail trade (+19,000); leisure and hospitality (+18,100); education/health services (+14,800) and construction (+8,500).

The biggest losses included jobs in the information (-2,200) and government (-700) sectors.

Washington lost an estimated 312,400 jobs from June 2019 through June 2020, not seasonally adjusted. Private sector employment fell by 9.2 percent, down an estimated 265,700 jobs, while public sector employment fell by 7.8 percent with a net loss of 46,700 jobs.

From June 2019 through June 2020, all 13 major industry sectors contracted.

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

• Leisure and hospitality, down 135,800 jobs

• Government, down 46,700 jobs

• Education and health services, down 36,300 jobs

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