State unemployment figures drop in December 2021

Washington state’s economy added 14,000 jobs in December 2021. Between November and December, the preliminary seasonally adjusted monthly unemployment rate fell to 4.5 percent.

“The recovery of Washington state jobs lost during the COVID crisis is still underway,” Employment Security Department’s (ESD) economist Paul Turek said.

“The drop in the unemployment rate to a pandemic-era low underscores the tightness in the labor market.”

The national unemployment rate dropped from 4.2 percent in November to the preliminary rate of 3.9 percent in December. For comparison, the national unemployment rate (revised) for December 2020, was 6.7 percent.

Clallam County’s unemployment rate for December 2021 was 4.5 percent — tied for 15th-highest among Washington state’s 39 counties.

State labor force grows again

The state’s labor force in December was 3,952,900 — an increase of 15,000 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 December 2020 to December 2021, the state’s labor force increased by 122,500.

From November to December, the number of people who were unemployed statewide decreased from 185,700 to 176,900.

Of the industry sectors, 10 expanded and two contracted in December 2021.

Private sector employment increased by 10,300 jobs while government employment increased by 3,700 jobs.

Broad-based growth in 2021

Washington gained an estimated 178,100 jobs from December 2020-December 2021, not seasonally adjusted. Private sector employment rose by 5.9 percent, up an estimated 159,700 jobs, while public sector employment rose by 3.4 percent, up an estimated 18,400 jobs.

From December 2020 to December 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 78,600 jobs; government, up 18,400; and, professional and business services, up 17,800 jobs. The industry sector that contracted was mining and logging, down 100 jobs.