State’s October unemployment rate matches record low

Washington state’s unemployment rate fell from 4.6 to 4.5 percent in October – equaling the state’s all-time low for unemployment set earlier this year, according to the state Employment Security Department.

“Washington’s economy keeps growing,” said Paul Turek, economist for the department.

“The demand for workers remains strong with ample opportunity for employment.”

Washington added 6,900 nonfarm jobs in October. The department released the seasonally adjusted, preliminary jobs estimates from the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics as part of its October Monthly Employment Report.

In October last year, the statewide unemployment rate was 5.3 percent. The national unemployment rate was 4.1 percent this October and 3.8 percent in the Seattle/Bellevue/Everett area.

Employment Security paid unemployment insurance benefits to 48,122 people in October.

The state’s labor force rose to 3.76 million in October — an increase of 14,100 people from the previous month. In the Seattle/Bellevue/Everett region, the labor force increased by 4,500 over the same period.

From October 2016 through October 2017, the state’s labor force grew by 98,700 and the Seattle/Bellevue/Everett region increased by 20,400.

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

Private sector employment increased by 6,000 and government employment increased by 900 jobs in October.

This month’s report shows the greatest job growth occurred in professional and business services — up 4,800 — and transportation, warehousing and utilities, up 3,100. Other sectors adding jobs were construction (+2,700), wholesale trade (+1,000), government (+900), information (+300), and financial activities (+300).

Education and health services faced the biggest reduction in October, losing 4,000 jobs. Additionally, leisure and hospitality cut 900, retail trade eliminated 700, other services trimmed 300, manufacturing shed 200 and mining and logging clipped 100.

Washington added an estimated 105,800 new jobs from October 2016 through October 2017, not seasonally adjusted. The private sector grew by 3.4 percent or 91,000 jobs, and the public sector increased by 2.5 percent, adding 14,800 jobs.

From October 2016 through October 2017, 12 of the state’s 13 industry sectors added jobs. Manufacturing (-1,600) was the only sector to report job losses.

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

• Construction with 17,100 new jobs;

• Professional and business services with 16,700 new jobs; and

• Government with 14,800 new jobs.

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