After several months of increasing unemployment rates, Washington’s unemployment rate for the month of February remained steady this month at 6.3 percent.
The February Monthly Employment Report from the state Employment Security Department (ESD) estimates employment increased by 94,700 jobs from February 2014 to February 2015, on a not seasonally adjusted basis, with 83,400 new jobs in the private sector and 11,300 new jobs in the public sector.
According to preliminary estimates by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) released by ESD today, Washington’s revised unemployment rate for January 2015 was also 6.3 percent (revised from 6.4 percent). The U.S. unemployment rate was 5.5 percent. Unemployment in the Seattle/Bellevue/Everett area was 4.7 percent.
Washington’s resident labor force continued to grow with more than 3.54 million people in the workforce, both employed and unemployed, over the age of 16. The number of unemployed, or those who currently do not have a job but have actively looked for work in the last four weeks, dropped from 224,400 in January 2015 to 222,300 in February 2015.
“The continued expansion of the labor market shows that job seekers are more and more optimistic about the possibility of finding a job,” said state labor economist, Paul Turek. “From year to year, Washington continues to enjoy steady job growth.”
The state saw continued job growth in all but one major industry. The top five industry sectors with the largest employment gains from February 2014 to February 2015 were:
- Construction 17,900 jobs;
- Professional and business services with 14,300 new jobs;
- Retail trade with 12,800 jobs;
- Government with 11,300 new jobs
- Education and health services with 9,900 new jobs.
The mining and logging industry lost 300 jobs from February 2014 to February 2015.
According to today’s monthly employment report, the state lost an estimated 600 jobs, on a nonfarm, seasonally adjusted basis from January 2015 to February 2015, including 200 private sector jobs and 400 in the public sector.
Overall, only five industries grew while eight suffered job losses. The top five industries in terms of increased employment from January 2015 to February 2015 were manufacturing (2,400); leisure and hospitality (1,300); wholesale trade (800); construction (600); and transportation, warehousing and utilities (100). Retail trade suffered the greatest number of job losses with 1,300, followed by losses of 900 in education and health services and 800 in professional and business services.
ESD paid unemployment benefits to 79,181 claimants this month.