State unemployment rate static at 3.6 percent

Washington state’s economy gained an estimated 2,900 jobs (seasonally adjusted) and the monthly unemployment rate remained at 3.6 percent in August.

“Job growth resumed in August after declining in July,” said Paul Turek, Employment Security Department (ESD) State Economist. “The modest increase continues the pattern of job growth moving at a far cooler pace than the substantial job gains of the past two years.”

The national unemployment rate increased in August from 3.5 percent to 3.8; for comparison, the national unemployment rate (revised) for August 2022 was 3.7 percent.

Clallam County’s unemployment rate for August 2023 was 4.9 percent — tied for ninth-highest among Washington state’s 39 counties.

The state’s labor force in August numbered 4,067,300 — a decrease of 2,000 people from the previous month.

Labor force is defined as the total number of people, both employed and unemployed, over the age of 16. Layoffs and labor force participation are not necessarily connected. When people are laid off but still seeking work, they remain a part of the labor force. A drop in the labor force means people have left work and haven’t been actively seeking employment for more than four weeks.

From August 2022 to August 2023, the state’s labor force increased by 66,300. From July to August 2023, the number of people who were unemployed statewide decreased from 147,400 to 146,100.

Private sector employment increased by 2,700 jobs from June to July while government employment increased by 200 jobs.

Of the industry sectors, seven expanded and six contracted in August. Manufacturing employment rose by 2,800, led by 500 jobs gained in transportation equipment manufacturing. The number of jobs in leisure and hospitality increased by 1,300, with 600 jobs gained in arts, entertainment, and recreation.

Employment in other services increased by 1,100 overall, with 700 jobs added in personal and laundry services.

Retail trade employment decreased by 1,000 overall, with 1,600 jobs lost in other trade. Professional and business services employment decreased by 2,700, with 2,400 jobs lost in employment services.