State labor market recovers more jobs in October

Washington state’s economy added 6,300 jobs in October. Between September and October, the preliminary seasonally adjusted monthly unemployment rate fell slightly to 5.0 percent.

“The state has been making continued progress toward recovering jobs lost during the pandemic,” Employment Security Department’s (ESD) economist Paul Turek said in a Nov. 17 press release.

”Constraints that may have prevented workers from re-entering the labor market are easing, and more workers appear to be taking advantage of the high availability of jobs.”

ESD paid unemployment insurance benefits to 58,998 people in October, a decrease of 183,002 over the previous month.

The national unemployment rate dropped from 4.8 percent in September to the preliminary rate of 4.6 percent in October. For comparison, the national unemployment rate (revised) last year, in October 2020, was 6.9 percent.

Workers returning to labor force

The state’s labor force in October was 3,935,600 — an increase of 7,600 people from the previous month. Labor force is defined as the total number of people, both employed and unemployed, over the age of 16.

In the Seattle/Bellevue/Everett region, the labor force increased by 1,900 over the same period.

From October 2020-October 2021, the state’s labor force decreased by 46,200 while the Seattle/Bellevue/Everett region increased by 18,700.

From September to October, the number of people who were unemployed statewide decreased slightly from 198,700 to 198,100.

In the Seattle/Bellevue/Everett region, the number of people who were unemployed decreased from 86,600 to 86,000 over the same period.

Of the industry sectors, in October:

Private sector employment increased by 15,600 jobs while government employment decreased by 9,300 jobs.

Washington gained an estimated 156,600 jobs from October 2020-October 2021, not seasonally adjusted. Private sector employment rose by 5.1 percent, up an estimated 138,000 jobs, while public sector employment rose by 3.4 percent, up an estimated 18,600 jobs.

From October 2020-October 2021, 12 major industry sectors expanded and one contracted. The three industry sectors with the largest employment gains year-over-year, not seasonally adjusted, were: leisure and hospitality, up 46,500 jobs; professional and business services, up 26,700 jobs; and, government, up 18,600 jobs.

The industry sector that contracted year-over-year, not seasonally adjusted, was mining and logging, down 100 jobs.