Strong hiring, payroll increases continue in September

Washington state’s economy added 17,600 jobs in September.

Between August and September, the preliminary seasonally adjusted monthly unemployment rate fell slightly to 4.9 percent.

According to Labor Force Statistics Manager Jeff Robinson, “September’s job gains show a steady economic recovery consistent with our state’s ninth consecutive month of net payroll increases.”

The Monthly Employment Report includes preliminary job estimates for September from the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics and confirms August’s preliminary unemployment rate of 5.1 percent.

Clallam County’s unemployment rate for September was 4.6 percent — eighth-highest among Washington’s 39 counties.

There was an adjustment to preliminary data for August, with the estimated gain of 16,800 jobs revised downward to a gain of 16,400 jobs.

ESD paid unemployment insurance benefits to 242,000 people in September, a decrease of 32,036 over the previous month.

The decrease in benefit payments over the month was primarily driven by the end of the CARES act, with the majority of decreases occurring in Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) and Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) benefits.

The national unemployment rate dropped from 5.2 percent in August to the preliminary rate of 4.8 percent in September. For comparison, the national unemployment rate (revised) last year, in September 2021, was 7.8 percent.

Workers trickle back into labor force

The state’s labor force in September was 3,936,900 – an increase of 13,900 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 2,200 over the same period. From September 2020 to September 2021, the state’s labor force increased by 66,900 while the Seattle/Bellevue/Everett region increased by 23,900.

From August to September, the number of people who were unemployed statewide decreased from 198,800 to 194,000. In the Seattle/Bellevue/Everett region, the number of people who were unemployed decreased from 88,700 to 85,200 over the same period.

Private sector employment increased by 18,100 jobs while government employment decreased by 500 jobs. In one of the tables below, there is a summary of the job gains and losses in all 13 industry sectors.

Washington gained an estimated 167,200 jobs from September 2020 – September 2021, not seasonally adjusted. Private sector employment rose by 5.9 percent, up an estimated 159,200 jobs, while public sector employment rose by 1.4 percent, up an estimated 8,000 jobs.

From September 2020–September 2021, 12 major industry sectors expanded and one industry sector contracted.

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

• Leisure and hospitality, up 58,700 jobs

• Professional and business services, up 26,200 jobs

• Education and health services, up 18,100 jobs

The industry sector that contracted year-over-year, not seasonally adjusted, was manufacturing, down 1,200 jobs.